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PERSECUTION OF THE LOWLY.
Story of the Wilmington Massacre
Published by M. C. I. Hill.
Respectfully dedicated to
the eminent heroine
Ida B. W t., - Barnf.tt
P I >
NEGROES ELEEIXG FROM WILMINGTON.
Driven out by Organized Bands of "Red Shirts." Obnoxious
White Men Al-,0 Ordered to get out ok Town. No
Lynching Allowed. Mayor Waddeli. and his Police
Prevent Further Killing. Rule of Whites now Pre-
vail. Three Hundred Policemen Sworn in to Pre-
serve Order — No Collision Between the Races Ex-
pected. No TRADe at Wilmington.
[Associated Pre?s Market Report
Wilmington, N. C, Nov. ii — Spirits turpentine — Nothing doing.
Rosin — Nothing doing.
Crude turpentine — Nothing doing.
Wilmington, Now n, — With the killing of the Negroes yester-
day the backbone of the trouble seems to have been brol The
authors of the tragedy have gone to their homes and the mob has
disbanded as if in contempt of the gangs of Negroes who still hang
about in the black quarters growling and threatening the White?
Law and order are gradually being restored; and those ^mong the
Negroes who feel resentment against the whiles are afraid to show
their true colors.
Early this morning 300 resolute white men gathered ;.* tin- Mayi
or's office and were sworn in as new policemen
Late last night half a hundred white citizens got together and
planned a big lynching party which was to raid the city from centre
to circumference to-day.
There were six Negroes in jail who had been arrested during the
excitement of the day, and who some people of the town thought
should be summarily dispatch. d. One was a leader, Thomas Mil
Jer, who was charged with declaring that he would wash his hands in
a white man's blood before night. Another was A. R. Bryant,
charged with being a dangerous character; the others were less prom-
inent, but had been under the ban of the whites for conduct calcu-
lated to incite trouble.
Mayor Waddeli and his associates put a veto upon the proposed
lynching. They said that good government was to prevail in Wil-
mington from this time, and would commence immediately. The
would-be lynchers were so insistent that the Mayor called out a guard
and kept the jail surrounded all night. This morning the six Ne-
groes wepe taken out and escorted to the north bound train by a de-
tachment of mffTtia, to be banished from the city. The citizens cheered
as they saw them going, for they considered their departure con-
ducive to peace in the future.
G. Z. French, one of the county leaders, attempted to escape
He ran through the streets, but was overtaken at the depot by sev
eral members of the posse.
A noose was thrown over his head and was drawn tightly around
his neck. Gasping and half choked, he fell upon his knees, beg-
ging for his life.
NEGRO BEGS FOR LIFE.
"Do you solemnly promise that you will leave and never come
back?' ' asked the leader of the possee.
"Oh, yes; yes. For God's sake, gentlemen, let me go, and I'll
never come back any more!"
The frightened wretch was allowed to go and crawled aboard the
•.rain, s—ied half to death.
After finishing with French the "red shirts" made a raid on Jus-
tus hunting's residence. He was away from home. The mob tore
from the .vails of his house the picture of his Negro wife and that
of Punting, and put them on exhibition on Market street.
They weiv. labelled: "R. H. Bunting, white," and "Mrs. R. H.
Bunting, colored." From Bunting's residence the mob proceeded
to the house of a Negro lawyer named Henderson. The hard-
knuckled leader knocked at the door. "Whose there?" came the
query. "A white man and a friend," was the reply. Inside there
was the deep silence of hesitation. "Open the door or we'll break
it down," shouted the leader. Henderson, badly frightened, opened
"We want you to leave the city by 9 o'clock Sunday morning,"
said the leader.
"All right," replied Henderson, "all I want is time enough to get
my things in order. ' '
A Negro lawyer named Scott was also banished and left the city
The Democrats hired one of Pinkerton's Negro detectives to
associate with the Negroes several weeks, and his investigation, it is
said, revealed that the two lawyers and the other Negroes men-
tioned were ringleaders, who were inciting their race lo violence,
WHITE MEN MUST GO TOO.
The retiring chie'" of police, Magistrate R. H. Bunting, Charles
H. Gilbert, Charles McAlister, all white Republicans, and many
asserrive Negroes, who are considered dangerous to the peace of the
community, are now under guard and are to be banished from the
The Negro Carter Peaman, who was exiled last night, got off the
train several miles from the city and was shot dead.
A report is current that John C. Dancy, the Neero United States
Collector of Customs for this port, has been notified to leave the
city and will be waited upon if orders are not summarily obeyed.
TJie city is now under thorough military and police protection
and there is no indication of further outbreaks.
On the Cape Fear River, about thirty miles from the East coast of
North Carolina rests the beautiful city of Wilmington.
Wilmington is the metropolis; the most important city of the old
North State, and in fact, is one of the chief seaports of the Atlantic
coast. The city lies on the East bank of the river, extending mainly
Northward and Southward. Market Street, the centre and main
thoroughfare of the city, wide and beautiful, begins at the river front
and gradually climbs a hill Eastward, so persistently straight, that the
first rays of a Summer's morning' sun kiss the profusion of oak and
cedar trees that border it; and the evening sun seems to linger in the
Western heavens, loath to bid adieu to that foliage-covered crest.
Wilmington is the Mecca for North Carolina's interior inhabitants
who flock thither to breathe in its life-giving ocean breezes when
Summer's torrid air becomes unbearable, and lazy Lawrence dances
' . ieri;;gl; before the eyes. The Winter climate is temperate, but
not ingenial to Northern tourists, who like swallows, only alight
there for a brief rest, and to look around on their journeying to and
from the far South: yet Wilmington is cosmopolitan; There dwells
the thrifty Yankee, the prosperous Jew, the patient and docile Negro,
the enterprising, cunning and scrupulous German; and among her
first families are the Scotch-Irish, descendants of the survivors of
Culloden. Wilmington suckled children who rallied under Scott in
Mexico, heard the thunderings at Monterey, and the immortal Alamo.
When the civil strife of four years was nearing its close, when the
enemies to the Union of States, sullen and vindictive, were retreating
before an invading army, Wilmington, nestling behind Fort Fisher,
one of the most formidable fortresses ever contrived, was shaken by
some of the most terrific bombarding that ever took place on earth.
" Then thronged the citizens with tenor dumb
Or Whisperi g with white lips, ' I'he foe! they come! they come!"
Wilmington, the scene of one of the last desperate stands of a demor-
alized army, witnessed the "memorizing of Golgotha" as her sons
desperately struggled to resist a conquering foe. In Oak Dale Ceme-
tery on the Northeastern boundary of the city sleep a few of the
principal actors in that tragedy. There rests noble James; there
rests Colonel Hall — grand old Roman ! I am glad he did not live to
see the roth of November, 1898, lest he should have been tempted
to join that mob of misguided citizens whose deeds of cowardice
plunged that city, noted for its equity, into an abyss of infamy.
Southward from Oak Dale Cemetery awaiting the final reveille, are
calmly sleeping not a few of that Grand Army who fell m the arms of
victory at Fort Fisher.
During the slave period, North Carolina could not be classed with
South Carolina, Georgia, and other far Southern States in cruelty and
inhumanity to its slave population ; and in Wilmington and vicinity,
the pillage of a victorious army, and the Reconstruction period were
borne with resignation. Former master and freedman vied with each
other in bringing order out of chaos, building up waste places, and
recovering lost fortunes. Up to but a few years ago, the best feeling
among the races prevailed in Wilmington; the Negro and his white
brother walked their beats together on the police force; white and
black aldermen, white mayor and black chief of police, white and
black school committeemen sat together in council; white and black
mechanics worked together on the same buildings, and at the same
bench; white and black teachers taught in the same schools. Preach-
ers, lawyers and physicians were cordial in their greetings one toward
the other, and general good-feeling prevailed. Negroes worked,
saved, bought lands and built houses. Old wooden meeting houses
were torn down, and handsome brick churches went up in their
places. Let the prejudiced scoffer say what he will, the Negro has
done his full share in making the now illfated city blossom as the
rose. We who have for so many years made our abode elsewhere,
have made our boast in Wilmington as being ahead of all other
Southern cities in the recognition of the citizenship of all of her
inhabitants; unstained by such acts of violence that had disgraced
other communities. To be laid to rest 'neath North Carolina pines
has been the wish of nearly every pilgrim who has left that clear old
home. All this is changed now; That old city is no longer dear.
The spoiler is among the works of God. Since ihe massacre on the
10th of November, 1898, over one thousand of Wilmington's most
respected taxpaying citizens have sold and given away their belong-
ings, and like Lot fleeing from Sodom, have hastened away. The
lawyer left his client, the physician his patients, the carpenter his
work-bench, the shoemaker his tools — all have fled, fled for their
lives; fled to escape murder and pillage, intimidation and insult at
hands of a bloodthirsty mob of ignorant descendants of England's
indentured slaves, fanned into frenzy by their more intelligent leaders
whose murderous schemes to obtain office worked charmingly.
Legally elected officers have been driven from the city which is now
ruled by a banditti whose safety in office is now threatened by the
disappointed poor whites whose aid was secured in driving out wealthy
Negroes on the promise that the Negroes' property should be turned
over to them.
What has wrought all this havoc in the city once so peaceful?
Rev. A. J. McKelway of Charlotte, Editor of the North Carolina
Presbyterian, in an article published in the New York Independent of
November, 1898, explains as follows: — "In 1897 was passed at
Governor Russell's wish and over the protest of the Western Repub-
licans, a bill to amend the charter of the city. If there had been any
condition of bad or inefficient government, there might have been
some excuse for this actio;- ; but the city was admirably governed by
those who were most interested in her growth and welfare. Here is
the law that is responsible for the bloodshed recently in Wilmington:"
"Be it Enacted, That there shall be elected by the qualified
voters of each ward one Alderman only, and there shall be ap-
pointed by the Governor one Alderman for each ward, and the
Board of Aldermen thus constituted shall elect a Mayor accord-
ing to the laws declared to be in force by this act. ' '
" It will be readily seen that, combining with those elected from
the Negro wards, it was easy for the appointees of the Governor to
elect the Mayor and appoint the other city officers."
"When the new Board took possession there were found to be
three Aldermen, fourteen policemen, seventeen officers in the fire
department, four deputy sheriffs, and forty Negro magistrates be-
sides. It is probable that not one of these was qualified to fill his
office. The new government soon found itself incapable of govern-
ing. It could not control its own. The homes of the people were
at the mercy of thieves, burglars and incendiaries, and the police
were either absolutely incapable of preventing crime, or connived at
it. White women were insulted on the streets in broad daylight by
Negro men, and on more than one occasion slapped in the face by
Negro women on no provocation. * * * * White
people began to arm themselves for the protection of their lives and
property. * * * * In the city of Wilmington it
has been found upon investigation, that the Negroes own 5 percent,
of the property, and pay 5 per cent, of the taxes. * * *
"The Negro editor publicly charged to the white women of the
South equal blame for the unspeakable crime, etc."
The Rev. Mr. McKelway has worded his defense well; but in giv-
ing a plausible excuse for the crime of Nov. 10th, he makes a dismal
failure. A mob headed by a minister of the gospel, and a hoary-
headed deacon, after cutting off every avenue of escape and de-
fense, and after the government had been surrendered to them as a
peace offering, wantonly kilis and butchers their brethren, is without
parallel in a Christian community, and the more Mr. McKelwav
seeks to excuse such a deed, the blacker it appears.
The Hon. Judsnn Lyon, Register of the United States Treasury,
in his reply to Senator McLaurin in the New York Herald, says
truthfully: "In Wilmington, N. C, albeit the Executive as a leadtr
of his party had backed down and surrendered everything as a peace
offering, and the democracy, if that is what they call themselves,
had carried the day, still the main thoroughfares of that city were
choked with armed men. They destroyed personal property, they
burned houses, they wantonly took more than a dozen lives, they
drove thousands to the woods where nearly a dozen infants were
born and died in many instances, with their mothers the victims of
exposure as the result of the cruelty of people who call themselves
democrats and patriots. Weyler in his maddest moments was hardly
"In the city of Wilmington, where so much innocent blood had
been spilled and so many valuable lives had been taken by that
furious mob, see what are the facts:
There were ten members of the Board of Aldermen, seven of
these white and three colored; there were twenty-six policemen, six-
teen white and ten colored, the chief being white and a native of
the State, city Attorney a white Republican, city clerk and treasurer,
white, with colored clerk. Turnkeys and janitors white Republicans
with colored assistants, Superintendent of Streets a white man, Su-
perintendent of garbage carts a white man, Clerk of Front Street
Market, a white man, Clerk of Fourth Street Market, a white man,
Superintendent of Health, a white Democrat, two lot inspectors,
colored men, Chief of Fire Department and Assistant chief, both
white Democrats. There are three white fire companies and two
colored. Superintendent of City Hospital is a white Democrat
with white nurses for white wards, and colored nurses for colored
wards. The school committees have always had two white members
and one colored. Superintendent of Public Schools is a white Dem-
Now, will somebody point out where that awful thing that is iter-
ated and reiterated so much, to wit, NEGRO DOMINATION ex-
isted under this showing in the swwmunicipality of Wilmington.' 1 * 1
The men who were driven from the city by the mob, with but few
exceptions, had no political following, nor political aspirations.
It has always been the rule with mobs to villify their victims, as-
sail their characters in the most shameful manner in justification of
their murder. But an attack upon the character and integrity of the
Negroes of Wilmington, in order to justify the massacre of Nov.
ioth, shall not go unchallenged. If what I write should raise a
howl of protest and call another ex-Governor Northern to Boston to
brand it as a lie, it is nevertheless a truthful statement of the causes
that led up to the doings of the ioth of November, and although I
shall fictitiously name some of the star actors in this tragedy and
the shifters of the scenes, I can call them all by their names and
point them out. It will be proven that the massacre of Nov. ioth,
1898, had been carefully planned by the leading wealthy citizens of
Wilmington, and that over thirty thousand dollars was subscribed to
buy arms and ammunition to equip every man and boy of the white
race, rich and poor; that secret dispatches were sent to sympathizers
in adjoining States and communities to come in and assist in making
the ioth of November, 1898, a second Bartholomew's eve in the
history of the world, by the wholesale killing of black citizens after
every means of defense had been cut off; that black men and wo-
men for banishment and slaughter had been carefully listed; that
clubs and clans of assassins had been organized and drilled in signals
and tactics; that the aid of the State militia and the Naval Reserves
had been solicited to enter Wilmington on the ioth of November to
assist in disarming every Negro, and aiding in his slaughter and ban-
ishment. That the intervention of Providence in the earnest and
persistent entreaties of white citizens who were too nobly bred to
stoop so low, and the strategy and cunning of the Negro himself,
frustrated the carrying out to its fullest intent, one of the most in-
famous and cowardly deeds ever planned.
'•I will not retract! Xo! Not a single sentence! I have told the
truth. This woman not satisfied with the South' s bloody record
since the war, is clamoring and whining like a she wolf for more hu-
man sacrifices, and an increased flow of human blood. She is
unmercifully pounding a helpless and defenseless people. The article
.was issued in defense of the defenseless. It is right against wrong;
truth against error, and it must stand even if the one who uttered it
is annihilated; it must stand!"
"But you must remember my dear man, that the South is no place
to speak plainly upon race matters. You have written the truth, but
its a truth that the white people of the South cannot and will not
stand. Now the leading whites are much incensed over this article
of yours which they interpret as an intent to slander white women,
and I am sent to say to you that they demand that you retract or
leave the city.'"
'■' I will do neither! The truth has been said, a slanderer rebuked.
God help me, I will not go back on that truth."
"Well, I leave you; I've done my duty. Good morning."
It is often said that there is nothing so indispensible as the news-
paper. It is the moulder of public opinion; the medium of free
speech; the promoter and stimulator of business; the prophet, the
preacher, swaying the multitudes and carrying them like the whirlwind
Into the right or wrong path. To millions its the Bible, the Apostles
Creed. Their opinion of God, of religion, of immortality is shaped
by what the newspaper has to say upon such subjects. Glowing
headlines in the newspapers have kindled the flames of Anarchy, and
started men upon the path of destruction like wolves stimulated and
brutalized by the scent of blood, to pause only when irrepairable evil
12 THE EDITOR.
hath been wrought. — "When new widows howl and new orphans
cry. ' ' What a power for evil is the newspaper ! The newspaper
arrayed on the side of the right hurls its mighty battering-ram against
gigantic walls of oppresion until they fall; takes up the cause of the
bondman, echoes his wails and the clanking of his chains until the
nation is aroused, and men are marching shoulder to shoulder on to
the conflict for the right. What a power for good is the newspaper!
L once heard a great editor say that "although newspaper work' was
hard and laborious, requiring a great store of intellectual strength it.
was nevertheless a fascinating work. ' ', But in the South where freedom
of speech is limited to a class grit and backbone outweigh intellectual
ability and are far more requisite. When we consider the fact that
many white newspaper men have "licked the dust" in the Southland
because they dared to emerge from the trend of popular thought and
opinion, the Spartan who without a tremor held his hand into the
flames until it had burned away was not more a subject of supreme
admiration than the little Octoroon editor of the Wilmington Record
whose brave utterances begin this chapter.
The great newspapers of today are too engrossed in weightier mat-
ters to concern themselves to any extent with things that promote
directly the interests of the ten million black Americans. Tnat is
largely the cause of the existence of the Negro editors. The Negro,
like the white man, likes to read something good of himself; likes to
see his picture in the paper; likes to read of the social and business
affairs of his people; likes to see the bright and sunnyside of his
character portrayed; so he often turns from thegreat journals (who are
if saying anything at all concerning him, worrying over the "Negro
Problem" (?) ) to look at the bright side presented by the Ne»ro
newspaper. A few days ago while worried and disconsolate over the
aspersions heaped upon a defenseless people that floated upon the
feotid air from the Alabama Conference, The Ne7c York Age came to
me, a ray of light in a dungeon of gross darkness.
Prior to the year 1892 there had been no genuine zeal among
colored people to establish a colored newspaper in Wilmington. Hie
Record was launched at about that time: but not until taken in hand
by the famous A. L. Manly did it amount to very much as a news me-
THE EDITOR. 13
dium. Under the management of this enterprising little man The Re-
cord forged ahead, and at the time of its suspension was the only Negro
daily, perhaps, in the country. It was a strong champion of the cause
of Wilmington's colored citizens. Improvements in the section of
the 'city owned by black people were asked for, and the request
granted. Good roads were secured, bicycle paths made, etc. The
greatest deed achieved however, was the exposure by The Record of
the very unsanitary condition of the colored wards in the city hospital.
The Record made such a glowing picture of the state of affairs, that
the Board of County Commissioners were compelled to investigate
and take action, which resulted in the putting of the old hospital in
habitable shape. This, though a good work did not enhance the
Editor's popularity with the whites who thought him too high strung,
bold and saucy. And the colored people who appreciated his pluck
felt a little shaky over his many tilts with editors of the white papers.
The brave little man did not last very long however — the end came
apace: Sitting in his office one evening in August reading a New
York paper, his eyes fell upon a clipping from a Georgia paper from
the pen of a famous Georgia white woman, whose loud cries for the
lives of Negro rapists had been so very widely read and commented
upon during the past year. This particular article referred to the
exposure of and the protection of white gir'.s in the isolated districts
of the South from lustful brutes. '• Narrow-souled fool!" exclaimed
the editor, throwing the paper upon the floor; 'T wonder does she
ever think of the Negro girls in isolated districts \( the South exposed
to lustful whites! Does she think of those poor creatures shorn of all
protection by the men of her race ! I guess her soul is too small to
be generous a little bit. — 'White girls in isolated districts exposed to
lustful Negro brutes.' Colored girls in isolated districts exposed to
lustful white brutes; what's the difference? Does the Negro's ruined
home amount to nought? Can man sin against his neighbor without
suffering its consequences? 'Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites!' I'll throw a broadside at that old women, so help me
The editor took up his pen and wrote the retort which shook the
ok' State from mountian to sea, and which enhanced the chances of
14 THE EDITOR.
the white supremacy advocates who were then planning for an upris-
ing in November. " Punish sin because it is sin," concluded the
editor, "and not because the one who commits it is black." The
article was commented upon by the press thruugnout the State, and
"the affVontery of the Negro" in assailing white women bitterly dis-
cussed. The Record advanced from five to twenty-five cents a
copy, so anxious was every one to see what the Negro had said to call
for such ado. Threatening letters began to come in to the editor's
office. "Leave on pain of death.' 1 "Stop the publishing of tha*
of paper." "Apologize for that slander," etc. But the editoi
refused to apologize, "Suspend or quit.' ' A meeting of citizens was
called, and a colored man sent to advise the editor to retract, but he
was obdurate. Immediately after the departure of the colored advo-
cate, the owner of the building came in and told the editor that he
was compelled to ask him to move out. He looked around the office
so full of pleasant recollections. The face of "Little Shunshine,''
once the writer of the social column whose rolicksome disposition had
robbed labor of its irksomeness in the work-room, beamed upon him
from far over the seas, and rendered the quitting of the old home a
much harder thing to do. But go he must. Colored friends hearing
of his predicament rallied to his aid, and offered him at least a tem-
porary asylum in one of their buildings. So the office of The Record
was moved into Seventh Street. Excitement soon abated however,
and The Record resumed its work. Those who are inclined to blame
the editor of The Hfilmington Record for the massacre of 1898 must
remember that the article was written in August, and the massacre
occurred in November; and that the editor of ;that paper did not
leave Wilmington until a few days before the massacre, upon the
urgent advice of friends. The whites of Wilmington had need to be
afraid of the Negroes, and did not attempt to do violence until suffi-
ciently reinforced from the outside, and the black citizens had been
cut off from all me^ns of defense. Editor Manley's reply to the
Georgia woman was not the cause of the upheaval, but it was an
excellent pretext when the election came on.
There strode out of a humble but neatly furnished dwelling in the
Southern section of the city of Wilmington on a sultry morning in
August, 1898, a man not over the average height, neatly dressed in
a well-brushed suit of black. His full and well kept beard of mixed
gray hung low upon his immaculate shirt front. His head classic
and perfectly fashioned, set well poised upon shoulders as perfectly
proportioned as an Apollo. His gray hair parted upon the side of
his head, was carefully brushed over his forehead to hide its baldness,
and from beneath abundant shaggy eyebrows, looked forth a pair of
cold gray eyes. Though past sixty, he was erect, and his step was
as firm as a man of thirty. This was "The Colonel," typical South-
ern gentleman of the old school, a descendant of the genuine aris-
tocracy, the embodiment of arrogance.
The Southerners' definition of the term "gentleman'' is a pecu-
liar one. The gentleman is born, and there is no possible way for
him to lose the title. He is a gentleman, drunk or sober, honest or
dishonest, in prison or out of prison. He is a gentleman with the
stains of murder unwashed from his hands. It is birth and not
character with the Southerner, appearance, rather than worth.
While in New England settled the tanner, the wheelwright, the
blacksmith, the hardy son of the soil who came over to escape re-
ligious persecution, and to serve God according to the dictates of
his own conscience, with none to molest or make him afraid, in the
South there settled England and Europe's aristocrat, lazy and self-
indulgent, satisfied to live upon the unrequited toil of others.
The "Colonel," aside from having a brilliant war record, had also
a lofty political career in North Carolina, during and following the
10 THE COLONEL.
reconstruction period. Twenty years or more ago he, in the height
of his career, was the idol of Eastern North Carolina. "The silver-
tongued orator of the East," his appearance in any town or hamlet
was greeted with the greatest enthusiasm. Holidays were proclaimed
and houses were decked with flags and bunting in honor of the hero
of the day and hour. The workman forgot his toil, the merchant
his business; old and young, little and big thronged the streets, wo-
men raised' their litttle ones in their arms and cried, "See, the
Colonel comes!" We listened with rapt attention to his superior
eloquence, and no man was more deeply rooted in the affections of
his ) eople. We esteemed him too high to be low, too lofty in
thought and aspiration to do a mean thing. Republican aspirants to
Congress in those days were easily turned down by the Colonel who
represented that district for three or more terms at the National
Capitol. But there cair.e a time when the Colonel's influence began
to wane; whisperings were current that he was indulging too freely
in the Southern gentleman's besetting sin — poker and mint julips,
and that the business of the people whose interests he had been
sent to look after was being neglected. Still Wilmingtonians' confi-
dence in the Colonel did not slacken, and when the time for Con-
gressional nominations came, we went to FayeUeville with bands
playing and banners flying, and we cheered ourselves hoarse in or-
der to quicken slumbering interest in the Colonel, but failed. Cum-
berland, Bladen, Mecklinburg and other counties came down unani-
mously in favor of one Shackleford, of the upper section, a name
almost unknown to us, and New Hanover, which stood alone for the
Colonel, was defeated. After the expiration of his term in Congress
the Colonel went to his home in Wilmington, and resumed the
practice of law. 1 he last lime that I visited the old city, the
Colonel was solicitor in the Criminal Court. He had also moved
put of his palatial dwelling on Third street, and sought cheaper
quarters. Twenty years ago he would have scorned the thought of
doing this deed which he was now contemplating as he strode doivn
the street on this sultry August morning.
"I will carry this election or choke the river with their carcasses,"
he said slowly to himself But why this ghastly sentence from the
THE COLONEL. 17
mouth of a representative Wilmingtonian? What had plunged the
Colonel into such a desperate state of mind? Poverty! lost honor,
unsatisfied ambition. The Negro and the "low white'' are prosper-
ing, holding positions in the city government that rightfully belong
to first families who are better qualified to hold said positions and
more entitled to the remunerations; but the changing of this order of
things cannot be b ought about by honest methods, so like the
hungry wolf, the Colonel is preparing to make a desperate charge to
carry the election and place himself in office, even if the streets of
the old city flow with blood. Yea, although the usual state election
time is some distance off, plans have been already secretly perfected
not only to carry the election by the Democrats, but to reduce the
Negro majorities by banishment, intimidation and murder.
Senator , by invitation, had visited the state, and
advised the carrying of the election with the shotgun, and had of-
fered the loan of five hundred guns from South Carolina. Mer
chants, most of them in Wilmington, had promised to discharge all
colored help who showed a disposition to vote, and had also sub-
scribed to a fund for the purpose of purchasing powder, guns and
dynamite. A raimiad company operating into the city had sub-
scribed five hundred guns. Stump orators had secured the aid of
the poor whites both in the city and rural disiricts by promising
them that by assisting to kill and chase the Negro from the city,,tTe
property owned by the colored c tizens would be turned over to
them. This was the work of hungry politicians who. to get office
told an infamous lie, and were ready to deluge a city in blood just to
get into office. Certain Negroes and white men had been listed for
slaughter and banishment. Negro men and women who had had
any difficulty in which they had gotten the best of a white person
before the courts or otherwise, for even ten years back, were to be
killed or driven from the city. 'Those who owned houses in white
neighborhoods were to be driven out and their property taken. All
this was being done quietly while the old city rested peacefully upon
this smouldering volcano. The Negro, unaware of the doom that
awaited him, went quietly about his work; but there were a few
white men in the city who, although Southerners by birth and edu-
18 [THE colonel.
cation, did not coincide with the methods adopted for the securing
of white supremacy. Among these was Mr. Gideon who could not
be persuaded to assist in such a movement, even in the minutest
way. A few mornings previous to the opening of my story, there
had appeared in the columns of a small Negro journal edited in
Wilmington, a short article which had been interpreted as an intent
to slander white women. This had thrown the city into a fever of
excitement, and dire threats had been made against the editor, and
the flocking of the colored people to his aid had made the whites
that much more bitter toward Negroes in general. But they soon
quieted down, and waited the "final day.'' The Colonel feeling
assured that this article in the Negro Journal would be the means of
driving all lukewarm whites into line, leisurely strolled on this partic-
ular day toward the office of Mr. Gideon.
"Why, good morning, Colonel!" said Mr. Gideon, arising from
his desk and extending his hand toward the Colonel who strode
noiselessly across the large office and gently tapped him upon the
shoulder. The Colonel sank into a chair, and opening the little
sheet which he had drawn from his coat pocket, laid it on the desk
before Mr. Gideon.
"Now, is it not time for white men to act?"
Mr. Gideon made no answer, but fastened his eyes upon the pa-
per before him. The Colonel continued, "We have taken care of
the Negro, paid his taxes, educated his children, tried to show to
him that we were more interested in his well-being than the
Yankee Radical Carpet-bagger he has chosen to follow; bu'. he has
persistently disregarded us. unheeded our advice, rode rough shod
over us, and fretted us until patience is no longer a virtue. The
Negro has reached the end of his rope. Emboldened by successful
domination, and the long suffering of the white people of this com-
munity, this nigger has made an unpardonable attack upon our
while women. Now, Gideon, if this article is not sufficient to stim-
ulate you to join in with your brethren in driving the ungrateful nig-
ger out of Wilmington and inducing white labor into it, you are not
true lo your race. ' '
Mr. Gideon turned in his chair and faced the Colonel, "I have
THE COLONEL. 19
previously read the article," he answered slowly "[ have re^d also
with — I must say — considerable disgust, the letters on the Negro
question from the pen of Mrs. Fells, cf Georgia, and the editorials
of Kingston upon the subject; and to tell you the truth, Colone', I
must commend the boy for his courage; he was simply defending his
race against the attack."
The Colonel jumped to his feet: "In the name of God, Gideon,
do you believe that a nigger should answer a white man back?"
"Under certain circumstances, Colonel, I do. Mrs. Fells style is
extremely brazen, and can we expect to harp with impunity upon the
shortcomings of the Negro? Let us blame the right persons; those
whose uncalled for assaults provoked the issuing of the article. But
that's a small matter just at this time. I have refrained from enter-
ing into the scheme of driving out Negroes, because I am concerned
about the business interests of this city; sit down, Colonel, sit down
and hear me out. Now, when we have driven out the Negro, whose
to take his place? We have tried the poor white."
"Why, encourage thrifty emigrants from the North." "Thrifty
emigrants from the North," echoed Mr. Gideon.
"Invite labor unions, strikes, incendiarism, anarchy into our
midst. Look at Illinois; can the South cope with such? The Ne-
gro we understand; he has stood by us in all of our ups and downs,
stood manfully by our wives and children while we fought for his en-
slavement. After the war we found no more faithful ally than the
Negro has been ; he hashelped usto build waste placesand to bring order
out of chaos. Now pray tell me where do we get the right to drive
him from his home where he ha6 as much right to dwell as we have?"
"Then you believe in Negro rule?"
"Yes you do Gideon, or you'd not talk in that manner," replied
the Colonel, now beside himself with rage. "Now, by heaven, we
are going to put the Negro in his place. Look at our city govern-
ment in the hands of ignorant niggers and carpet baggers. God did
not intend that his white faced children were ever to be ruled by
black demons." and the Colonel rose again and began to pace the
20 THE COLONEL.
"Calm yourself, Colonel, calm yourself," said Mr. Gideon. "Now
we ought to be ashamed of ourselves to raise the cry of Negro rule
in North Carolina, when we so largely outnumber them. I admit
that there are objectionable Negroes in Wilmington, Negroes who
would greatly benefit the community by leaving it; but shall we slay
the righteous with the wicked? Must the innocent and guilty suffer
alike? Ten righteous men would have saved the cities of the plains. "
"But they could nt be found," interrupted* the Colonel.
"I warrant you they can be found here,'' calmly replied Mr.
We the white people of this community, have often given ex-
pression of our love and even veneration for such characters as Al-
fred Howe, Henry Taylor, John Norwood, George Ganse, John H.
Howe, Thomas Revera, Joe Sampson, Henry Sampson, Isham
Quick, and scores of others whom we must, if we do the right thing,
acknowledge as the black fathers of this city. Thrifty and industri-
ous Negroes have always been the objects, of the envy of poor
whites who will eagerly grasp the opportunity when given, to destroy
the property of these people. While it is your object, Colonel, to
carry the election, and triumph politically, they will murder and
plunder, and when once licensed and started, you cannot check
them. I see that they are being armed — a dangerous proceeding.
Take care Colonel; I beg you to beware lest those guns in the hands
of these people be turned upon you, and the best white people of
this community be compelled to quit it. I listensd with fear and
apprehension a few evenings ago, to Fisher's harrangue to the poor
whites of Dry Pond. They will take him at his word, for they are
just that ignorant. Shall we for the sake of political ascension plunge
Wilmington into an abyss of shame?"
''Now, Gideon," said the Colonel, "your talk is all nonsense, we
are trying to extricate Wilmington fiom the slough of infamy into
which it has been plunged by Radicals. We are going to elevate the
white man to his place and regulate Sambo to his sphere, if the
streets have to flow with blood to accomplish that end. Good nig-
gers who know their places will be protected; but these half educated
black rascals who think themselves as good as white men, must go.
THE COLONEL. 21
'Nigger root doctors' are crowding white physicians out of business;
•nigger' lawyers are sassing white men in our courts; 'nigger'
children aie hustling white angels off our sidewalks. Gideon, in the
name of God, what next? what next?" and the Colonel bounded
into the air like an Indian in a war dance. "White supremacy must
be restored, and you Gideon will regret the day you refused to assist
your white brethren to throw off the yoke of oppression. Good
da ■, Gideon, good day"; and the Colonel stalked out ol the office.
Uncle Ephraim, one of the old Nimrods who supplied Wilming-
ton's markets with savory ducks and rice birds, stood with his gun on
the corner of Front and Market streets that morning, as the Colonel
briskly strode past on his way from the office of Mr. Gideon to the
"Good mawnin Co'nel," said Uncle Ephraim, saluting politely;
but the Colonel did not as usual pause to crack a joke with the do
cile old darky; he did not even vouchsafe a nod of recognition, but
moved hastily on his way. Uncle Ephraim stood and wistfully
watched the Colonel until he turned the corner of Second and Mar-
"Whoop! dar's er pow'ful big load on de Co'nel's mine sho. Dat
white man didn' eben see me; an' I his ole bodysarbant, too."
Uncle Ephraim strode slowly down Market street and entered the
store of Sprague & Company. "Look yer!" said he, "I wants er
bout fo' ounce powder an er few cap. '' The salesman shook his
"Wa fur yo' shake yer hed, you no got um?"
"We are selling nothing of the kind to darkies just now, uncle."
"But how I gwine fer kill duck?''.
The salesman made him no answer.
Uncle Ephraim stood, looked about for a moment, then slowly
sauntered into the stree>, and made his way to Joslins, in South
Front street, but was also refused there. Going again to the corner
of Market and Front Streets, he saw several white men and boys
enter Sprague & Company and came out armed with shot guns and
other fire-arms, and walk briskly away. "Deole boy is gwine to
tun heself loose in dis yer town soon; fer I see um in de bery eye ob
22 THE COLONEL
dese bocra. I can't buy um, but see how de bocra go in an git um.
Niggah, hit's time ter look er bout,"— and Uncle Ephraim slowlv
walked up Front Street towards Morrow's.
THE MEETING IN THE WIGWAM *3
The Meeting In The Wigwam.
Three months have passed since the events narrated in the pre-
ceeding chapters. Chill winds are heralding the approach of
winter. Wilmington is three months nearer its doom. Political war-
riors are buckling on their armour for the final struggle on the 8th, of
November which must result in complete victory for white supremacy,
or indefinate bondage to Negro Domination (?)
Far out on Dry Pond in an old meeting house known as the Wig-
wam, the White Supremacy League' has gathered. The o.^ hall is
poorly lighted but it is easy for the observer to see the look of grim
determination on the faces of all present. It is a representative
gathering. There is the Jew, the German, Irishman, Bourbon
Aristocrat and "poor bocra. " The deacon, the minister of the
gospel, the thug and murderer. No one looking upon this strangely
assorted gathering in a Southern community would for a moment
question its significance. Only when politics and the race question
are being discussed is such a gathering possible in the South. There
is a loud rap: the hum of voices ceases. The individual who gives
the signal stands at a small table at the end of the long narrow hall.
One hand rests upon the table, with the other he nervously toys with
a gavel. He is a tall, lean, lank, ungainly chap, whose cheek bones
as prominent as an Indian's seem to be on the eve of pushing through
his sallow skin. A pair of restless black eyes, set far apart, are
apparently at times hidden by the scowls that occasionally wrinkle his
forehead. His gray hair hangs in thick mats about his shoulders.
Teck Pervis had served in the war of secession under General
Whiting, and was one of the many demoralized stragglers, who swept
■24 THE MEETING IN THE WIGWAM.
before the advancing tide of the Union troops scampered through the
swamps and marshes after the fall of Fort Fisher, to find refuge in
Wilmington. During the Reconstruction period and many years
following, he, with such characters as Sap Grant, Neal Simonds,
Henry Sallins, Watson and others, made nights hideous on Dry Pond
bv their brawls and frolics. In introducing Teck Penis to the
reader, 1 wish to briefly call attention to that peculiar class in the
South known as the "Poor Whites." Always an ignorant depend-
ent, entirely different in every respect from the descendants of the
Huguenots, Celt and Cavaliers that make up the South's best people;
the origin of this being, who since the war has been such a prominent
figure in the political uprisings and race troubles, and so on, is worthy
of consideration. In the early centuries the English Government
made of America what in later years Australia became — a dumping
ground for criminals. Men and women of the Mother Country
guilty of petty thefts and other misdemeanors were sent to America,
bound out to a responsible person to be owned by said person until
the expiration of sentence imposed, a stipulated sum of money being
paid to the Crown for the services of the convict. At the expiration
of their term of servitude these subjects were given limited citizen-
ship, but were never allowed to be upon equality with those who
once owned them. These indentured slaves and their descendants
were always considered with contempt by the upper classes. The
advance of American civilization, the tide of progress has arisen and
swept over this indolent creature who remains the same stupid,
In Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, North and South Carolina, and throughout the entire South
are legion of this people, some of whom could not be taught the
rudiments of arithmetic. When African slavery became established
in America, white s'avery was then tried in Australia where the treat-
ment was so severe that thousands of them fled to the woods to become
as wild in many instances as the natives. As the introduction of
African slavery caused the indentured slave to depreciate in value as
bond men, they were converted into overseers, patrolmen Negro
drivers to look for and to return runaway Negroes to their masters.
THE MEETING IN THE WIGWAM. 2&
They were licensed to break up Negro frolics, whip the men. and
ravish the women. But in the main the poor white subsisted by
hunting and fishing. To him work was degrading, and only, for
"niggers" to do. A squatter upon the property of others, his sole
belongings consisted of fishing tackle, guns, a house full of children,
and a yard full of dogs. In Virginia, North and South Carolina he
is known as '-Poor Bocra." "Poor Tackie. "' In Georgia and
Florida its '-Cracker,'' and there are few readers of current literature
who are not familiar with that class of whites known as Clay Eaters
of Alabama and Mississippi. Looked down upon by the upper
classes, the poor white before the war was simply a tool for designing
politicians. When war between the North and South became iminent,
the poor white increased in value; for the aristocrat was adverse to
being a common private. So they sought the poor white, appealed
to his patriotism, pictured to him the wrongs heaped upon the South,
and the righteousness of slavery. They drew glowing pictures of the
Southern armv's invasion of the North to thrash the Yankees, and
pardon them in Faneuil Hall. The South freed, was to open her
markets to the world. Her wealth was to be untold, while grass
would grow on the sidewalks of Northern cities. Every poor white
who shouldered a gun was to be elevated out of serfdom, be given
forty acres of land, a ••nigger" and a mule. Enthused by these
glowing promises, the Southern poor white shouldered his gun and
waded in: and no one reviewing the history of that immortal struggle
would for a moment question the bravery of the Southern soldiers.
They fought like demons. They invaded the North. They made
the world wonder at Gettysburg.
Here Mississippi flushed with pride
Met Pennsylvania's deadly tide
And Georgia's ra-h and gallant ride
Was checked by New York's chivalry.
Here Alabama's rebel yell
Rang through the valleys down to hell
But Maine's decisive shot and shell
Cut short the dreadful revelry.
But the South's victorious armies did not reach Faneuil Hall.
The air castles, the hopes of Southern prosperity and the poor whites
20 THE MEETING IN THE WIGWAM
elevation and wealth were blasted, when two years after that gallant
dash at Gett)sburg, that ragged, starved, wretched host surrendered
at Appomattox. The blasted hopes of the poor white caused him to
drift further away from the aristocrat who had fooled him into a fool-
hardy and disastrous struggle. Land was cheap but he hadn't the
money to buy it, and the aristocrat didn't have the "nigger" and
the mule to give him. He grew lukewarm politically, got his rod and
went a fishing. But with the Negro freed and enfranchised, and the
Northern politician on the premises, the vote of the poor white
became indispensible to the former Southern ruler who wished to
hold his own politically. So a new batlle cry was made, viz: — "Ne-
gro Domination," "Social Equality. But so lukewarm had the poor
white become, that his song had to be sung with pertinacious fervor
to make him do more than pause to listen.
"Do you want niggers to marry your daughters? Do you want
niggers to sit in school beside your children? Do you want -niggers
on the juries trying white men? If you don' I want such dreadful
calamities to befall the South, go to the polls and do your duty!' '
"What'd he say? Niggers er marryin our darters? Niggers in
skule wid we uns? Thet aint er goin ter du ! Le' me see thet
ticket ! "
The Southern poor white has never had much of a hankering after
"book laming." He's better than the "nigger" and that's all he
cares to know. To be white means license to trample upon the
rights of others. The cat's paw— the tool of the aristocrat, he stands
ready always to do the dirty work of lynching, burning acid intimida-
tion. Traveling South, especially on the East Coast, the train con-
ductor only has to say to the colored passenger in a first class car but
once that he must get out. If the passenger refuses, the conductor
need not waste words; a telegram to Jessup or Way Cross, Ga. , or
Bartow Junction in Florida will call together a crowd of crackers,
large enough to put the engine off the track if necessary. Like the
dog in the manger, unable to pay for a first class ride himself, the
poor white squats about railroad stations and waits for the opportu-
nity to eject some prosperous Negro. I have known as many as two
hundred to swarm around a train to put off one frail woman not over
ninety pounds in weight.
This is the creature that is held up continually before the Negro
THE MEETING IX ; THE WIGWAM 27
as his superior — an assertion that will ever be met with strong resist-
ance. For while the Negro was a slave he is not a descendant of
"Gentermen," said Teck Pervis, "whils we air waitin fur ther
kernul and other big uns ter errive, as cheerman uv the Dry Pond
White Supreemacy Leeg, I wish ter keep this here meet'n warm bv
makin' erfew broken remarks" — ''Go ahead Teck, give us a speech"
came from more than a dozen throats; "I wan ter say jes here'' he
continued ''thet ther white folks uv Wilmington, North Caliny hav
tuk and stood nigger biggitty and hifullutin carryins on with moe
patience then eny folks on top side er this green yerth" (Laughter
and applause). "We po uns have jes layed er roun an slep till Mr.
Nigger has trotted so fur er hed that I am feared we wont be able ter
over take him.'' (Laughter). ''They air in better houses then we
po white uns, thur chilan air er wearin better does an er gittin moe
larnin then our'n. An gentermen surs jes tackle eny er them little
uns er'n an they'd surprise yer; why they kin spit latin faster then
er terbacky worm kin spit terbacky. (Laughter). Who give ther
nigger ther stick ter break our heads? Who done it I say? You
rich white uns, thets who;" -'But we'll do it no longer," said a voice
from the audience. "We uns hepped yer ter fite yer battles," con-
tinued Teck, "an when thet war was ended, we did'n git ther nigger
an mule yer promised, but we uns did'n kick powerful hard agin yer
bekase yer did'n hev em ter giv us." (Laughter). "But you uns
could er giv we uns ther wurk inslid uv givin it ter good fur nuthin
nigger bekase we po uns hev voted yer ticket rite er long an kep yer
in office —
"I see ther kurnels on hand' so I giv way fur im," and Teck Per-
vis advanced to where the Colonel had paused to remove his over-
coat. "Whats the matter with the Colonel? He's all right!" was
uttered with a ring that shook the old wigwam. The Colonel,
escorted by Teck Pervis, leisurely strutted to the centre of the hall.
The Colonel had seen the time when he would have scorned the
idea of being introduced to an audience by a low white. "Oh vain
boast! who can control his fate?" He is now as poor as the poorest
indentured slave, seeking to feed at the public crib by appealing to
the passions and prejudices of the masses.
28 THE MEETING IN THE WIGWAM.
"Gentlemen," says he, "it is needless for me to ask you to night
whether or not you believe that the Anglo-Saxon race was ordained
by God to rule the world. It is needless for me to say that the
Anglo-Saxon proposes to carry out God's decree to the letter.
(Applause). When God made man, he placed him over every other
living creature to rule and govern, and that man was a white man.
(Applause). When God said to man ' Have dominion over the
beasts of the field,' He meant to include inferior races. These
inferior races are to be kept in subjection by their superiors,
and wherever and whenever they assume to dominate their superiors
we are justified by our Creator in using every means available to put
them down. The white people of North Carolina, the curled darl-
ings of God's favor have by their long suffering gotten into such
a state of subjection that it is time to act. (Applause). Wherever
the Saxon has planted his foot, he has been a civilizer. He came to
America, drove out the savage and made it the greatest nation on
the face of the earth, (applause) and he has the right to govern it in
its entirety from the humblest official to the executive head of the
nation, (prolonged applause). We have for years been dominated
by semi-civilized barbarians, flattered into the belief that they are as
good as white people by unprincipalled Yankee carpet-baggers who
have profited by their ignorance. Emboldened by the leniency of
their superiors, Negroes have become unbearable. The government
is corrupt, and so bold has the Negro become that the virtue of our
women has been assailed by that black rascal, the editor of The
Record — (cries of Kill him! Burn the scoundrel!) The snake is
not to be scorched this time: we aregoing to make a clean sweep, and
permanently restore white man's government. Our friends in other
sections of the State, and even in adjoining States are in sympathy
with us, and are willing to come in and help us," etc.
But why weary the reader with the Colonel's firey harangue.
Although there is no foundation for such incendiary language the
reader will soon see just how much misery it wrought upon a defense-
less people. Fanned into fury by the rehearsing of imaginary wrongs
by gifted tongues, the mob when once started astonished its leaders,
who quailed and looked aghast at trie hellish work they had inaugu-
MRS. AMANDA PRRVIS.
Mrs. Amanda Pervis.
"Whew ! dis here win is er blowin pow'ful col fer Octoby Ther
ol sow was er tot'n straw yistedy and that means winter aint fur off.
Shoo there ! I never seed ther beat er thet ol hen ; make hase ter
gulp her own co'n down ter driv ther turkeys way from their'n."
Thus spoke Mrs Amanda Pervis as she stood in the door of her hum-
ble wooden dwelling on Kidder s Hill a brisk murning in October.
"Thanksgiving haint fur off, an turkey meat's er gittin high. Shoo
ther yer hussy ! '' 'Who air yu er talk in ter Mandy ? " said her
husband coming to the door and peeping over his wife's shoulder.
' I tho't er trader er some sort wus er passin." The wife turned and
looked astonished at her husband. '' Why fer ther Ian sake, what's
er comin over ye Teck Pervis? I tho't yer'd be fas er sleep after
bein so late ter meetin las nite. I tho't yer'd tak yer res bein yer
haint er goin er fishin i" 'I felt kinder resliss like, and I tho't I
jes es well be er gittin up," answered Teck, plunging his face into the
basin of cool spring water that his wife had placed on the shelf beside
the door. "Well hit won't tak me long ter git breakfus reddy," ind
Mrs. Pervis darted into the kitchen. Teck Pervis dipped his hands
into the basin, poured the cool water on his head until his gray hair
hung in thick mats over his face then leisurely drawing the towel
from the nail beside the door, lazily wiped his head and face. The
smell of fried bacon and delicious coffee arose from the kitchen ; the
rattling of dishes was to him sufficient token of the putting of victuals
on the table Teck Pervis sauntered in, sat down, folded his arms
upon the table, and sheepishly watched his wife as she flitted from
place to place in the humble little kitchen. Mrs. Pervis paused, and
her eyes met her husband's gaze. "Well what in ther wor'l is ter
80 MRS. AMANDA PERVIS.',
matter Teck Pervis? Why air ye gazin at me so dis mornin, turn yer
cup and tak yer coffy. " We uns had er interestin meetin las night,"
he said meekly. ''Well mus yer put on er graveyard face ter day
bekase yer had er interestin meetin las night ? Don't put so much
gravy on yer rice, hits ergin yer lit 1th. Maria Tappin tol me yestidy
thet her brother Tom was to be nitiated las night with er eood meny
other uns, an I 'lowed I'd here erbout hit, as my husban was er goin.
Now yer air talkin erbout er interestin meetin the candidates muster
all bin on han." Teck Pervis looked pleadingly at his wife. Mrs.
Pervis went on : "I am glad yer went ter loge meetin ; er lot er them
Red Shirt Varmints cum er roun las night er lookin fer yer to go with
em ter that wigwam, and I was proud ter tell em that my husban' was
not in politicks when it cum to killin colud folks ter git inter office, an
that truth hit em so hard dey sneaked." Teck shuddered. During
a series of revivals in the Free Will Baptist Church during the sum-
mer Teck Pervis had professed religion. A fierce struggle was going
on 'neath his rugged breast. Must he tell the truth. The best whites
were there even ministers of the gospel ; but then preachers are not
always on the right side ; and Teck Pervis had promised his wife that
he'd not allow himself to be a tool for hungry broken down aristocrats
who only wished to use the poor as cats' paws. He took a big swal-
low of coffee, drummed nervously with his fingers upon the table. "I
jes es well tell yer ther plain truth, Mandy," he said finally, "I got
wi ther boys las night and went ter ther Wigwam, an was made Cheer-
man ov ther meetin. They lowed thet hit wus ter be ther mos im-
portent meetin in ther campain, an hit wus time fer white men ter be
er standin tergither.'' "Teck Pervis," exclaimed the wife, " Hev I
bin er rastlin in prayer an pleadin ter ther Lawd in vain ? Didn't I
beg yer not ter fergit yer religin in jine-inin wid sinners in doin eval? "
"There aint er goin ter be eny killin done, Mandy, we air jes er goin
ter skeer ther Niggers way from ther polls, an keep um frum votin."
" I know all erbout hit," broke in Mrs. Pervis. "Hit will en' in
murder, for yer know thet Niggers won't be drove." '" Why all ther
big guns war there Mandy; merchints, lawyers, docters an ev'n
preachers." " Laws e massy me ! " exclaimed Mrs. Pervis. "An if
ther shepod wus ther, yer kaint blame ther flock." "Teck Pervis
MRS. AMANDA PRRVIS. 31
did I understan yo ter sav that — ' ' "Don't git excited, Mandy, yer
jes es well git use ter ther new tern things air takin. Them preachers
war thar bekase they sed hits time fur white uns ter stan tergither.
Radicul rule mus be put down." Mrs. Pervis crossed her hands up-
on the table and looked resigned. "Teck, do tell me what preach-
ers war they ? " " Why ef yo own minister wus'n thar hiself I hope
er hoppergrass may chaw me " "Teck Pervis, do ye mean ter tell
me thet Brother Jonas Melvin wus at thet meetin?" "Yes, and
Hoosay too, thet Presberteen man thet sines his name with er dubble
D hung on ter ther een.'' "Jonas Melvin is er windin up his ker-
rare in Free Will Church. We'll hev no sich men fumblin wi ther
werd ev God in our pulpit. I never did think them Presbyteens hed
eny religin no wav. They air full of book larnin, but havn't bin tech
wit ther sparit. '['his Hussy is lik ther res er these hi tone preachers
thet hang on ter this docterin thet ther yerth moves insted uv ther
sun." "Hoosay Mandy. Why don' t yer tak proper! Hoosay!"
"Well, he jes oughter be named Hussy, fur he is er hussy. When
ole sat'n meets them two at the cross-road thars er goin ter be er tus-
sle now I tell yer." "Well now yer know thet ther scripter says
cussed be Canyon, least wise thets the way Brother Melvin splained
hit tothernight, cussed be Canyon means cussed be Niggers." "Now
Teck Pervis, wher is yer proof thet the scripter merit Nigger? I aint
rusty un ther scripter ef I am er gittin ole.'' "Now, Mandy, yer
know ther scripter reads thet Canyon was the son er Ham an wus
cussed bekase h ; s daddy laffed at ole Noey, bekase when he layed
down ter sleep he didn't pull the kivver on his seif proper like. When
de ole man woke up the tother boys tole him what Ham hed done, he
cussed Canyon Ham's son-, and sed sarvant of sarvants shill he be.
Ham wus ther Nigger boy in ther family, and we uns air carin out
ther edicts of ther scripter when we try ter keep the Nigger cussed.
Sarvant ov sarvants shill he be, an we air — " " Hoi on, Teck Per-
vis," exclaimed his wife. "Let me git in er word kinder catiwompus
like et leas Now we air all ther time er lookin fer scripter ter back
us up in our devalmint Ther scripter don't say thet God'l mighty
cussed Canyon, it says thet Noey cussed him, an ef Noey hed kep
sober an b'haved hisself he wouldenter hed ter cuss at eny body.
Whose teachin air we er follerin ? Ole Noey's er our Blessed Lawd
32 MRS. AMANDA- PERV1S.
an Saviour ? ' ' He sed all things what soiver ye wood thet men should
do ter yo, do ye evan so ter thim. Have yer back slided an fergot
yer religin erready Teck Pervis?" Teck was dumb " Yo Red
Shirts Ruff Riders an broke down ristecrats kin go on an do yer dev-
ilment but mark what Mandy Pervis says, God' 1. Mighty will giv yu
uns ther wurk er yer hans. " ''Why, Mandy, yo ought ter git er
license ter preach, why you kin spit scripter lik er bon evangilis, "
and Teck Pervis reached over and slapped his wife upon the shoulder.
This compliment from her husband stimulated the old lady to more
earnest effort. "Now look er here." she continued. "What do
them risticrats kere er bout the likes er we ? la slave times we war
not as good as their Niggers an ef we didn't get out ther way on the \
road, they'd ride their fine critters plum over us. They hed no use
fer we uns unless hit wus ter use us fer somethin. Whan ther war
broke out, of course they wanted der po'uns ter do ther fightin, an
they kill me ole daddy bekase he would'n jine em. He didn't think
it right ter tak up an fight agin the Union ; an I can't fergit thet
you'ns who did go ter ther fight ware promij'd er Nigger an er mule.
But did yer git em? Teck Pervis winced. Mrs. Pervis continued.
" Now sich es ole Wade an Moss Teele an uthers air hungry ter git
er bite at ther public grip, so they throw out bait fer yo uns ter nib-
ble ; an yer air fools e'rnuff ter nibble. Jane Snow tells me thet all
ther big bug Niggers er goin ter be driv out, and we uns will git ther
property and wash up in ther churches." ''Thet wus promused."
broke in Teck. " But who hes ther rite ter tek them critters prop-
erty an giv hit ter yo uns? " replied Mrs. Pervis. " Teck Pervis yo
may mark my words, but jes es soon es them broken down ristocrats
git er hoi of ther gov' mint, jes es soon es yo po fools help them, then
yer kin go. ' ' Teck Pervis glared at his wife like a fierce beast at bay.
He was Teck Pervis of old, the defnnt, blood thirsty rebel in the rifle
pit glaring over the breast- works at the jnemy. " Wese got ther
guns!" he thundered, bringing his fist down upon the table, "an ef
they dont give ther po' uns er show when ther city is took, why ! we'd
jes es leave kill er ristercrat as er Nigger, and we uns will do it Wat
yo say is right frum start to finish. We uns air watchin urn ; wese
got ther guns, an we uns'll hold em till we see how things air goin ter
wurk. Reach up there an han ine my pipe Mandy."
MOLLY PIERREPONT. 33
" Sweet aud low, sweet and low
Wind of the Western sea
Low, low, breathe and blow
Wind of the Western sea
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon and blow
Blow him again to me
While my little one, while my pretty one sleeps."
This sweet old lullaby of Longfellow's, sung by a rich soprano voice
floated upon the cool October air out from a beautiful and richly fur-
nished suburban cottage in Wilmington. The singer sit alone at the
piano. Though vulgarly called a " Negress," her skin was almost as
fair as a Saxon's ; and because of the mingling of Negro blood — more
beautiful in color. She was gowned in an evening dress of gossamer
material, ashes of rose in color. Her hair let out to its full length
hung in silky profusion down her back There were plain o'd fash-
ioned half moon rings in her ears, and bands of gold upon her bare
arms enhanced their beauty. No one will deny that among the wo-
men of mixed blood in the South, there are types of surpassing beauty.
The inter-mixture of Negro and Saxon, Negro and Spanish and In-
dian blood gives the skin a more beautiful color than exists in the un-
adulterated of either race. While the mulatto and octoroon may re-
veal the Saxon in the fairness of the skin, the Negro reinforcement
shows itself generally in the slight inclination of the lips toward thick-
ness, the lustrious black of the eye and hair which is generally abun-
dant and slightly woolly in texture. This is brought out plainly in the
case of the Jew. Although centuries have passed since the Jews very
extensively amalgamated with the dark races of Egypt and Canaan,
34 MOI.LY PIERREPONT.
their dark complexions, lustrous black eyes, abundant woolly hair
plainly reveal their Hamatic lineage. To pass through the Bowery or
lower Broadway in the great metropolis at an hour when the shop and
factory girl is hurrying to or from her work, one is struck by the beauty
of Jewish womanhood. King David's successful campaigns placed
Solomon over large dominions of Moabitish and Canaanitish peoples;
and for the stability of bis kingdom, Solomon took wives out of all
of these nationalities ; and Solomon's most favored wife was his black
princess, Naamah, the mother of Rehoboam, his successor. The poet
describes Naamah as the " Rose of Sharon, the most excellent of her
country." The .carriage of Solomon to his black princess was the
most notable of any of his marriages ; for that wonderful poem,
" Solomon's Songs,'' is mainly a eulogy to this one of his many wives.
" I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem as the tents of
Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me because I am
black, because the sun hath looked upon me." In the most beauti-
ful language in the gift of the poets of that day Solomon converses
with Naamah in the following dialogue: " Return, return O Shulam-
ite ; return, return that we may look upon thee. " Naamah, "What
will you see in Shulamite?" Solomon, "As it were a company of
two armies "
We have conclusive evidence that the Southern gentleman did, and
does sing such love ditties, and talk sweet nothings to the Southern
black woman, an I the woman of mixed blood, but unlike Solomon,
he is too much of a coward to publicly extol her. During the slave
period in the West Indian Islands a child born to a slave woman shared
the fortunes of its father ; and if the father was free, so was the child.
But the American slave holder reversed that law so that he could
humble the bond-woman and damn her offspring with impunity. Up-
held by the law the Southerner sold his own daughter and sister into
a lite of shame. The pretty Negress and the woman of mixed blood
brought extortionate prices in Southern markets. Northern sympa-
thizers may talk of the New South, and the Southern orator may harp
upon the shortcomings of the "inferior race," but on this line of
thought and conduct, the Southern whites have tiot changed one whit.
Before the war, Sambo only had a quit-claim on his black or mulatto
MOLLY PIERREPONT. 35
wife, and now the laws are so framed that he cannot defend the wo-
man of his race against the encroachments of his white brother, who
looks at the destruction of the Negro woman as only an indiscretion.
The humble black fool is often forced away from his own wife or
sweet-heart at the point of a revolver, cowed by the feeling that a
manly stand against a white man might cause incalculable loss of life.
Yet the advocate of Lynch Law pictures this humble fellow, this man
who is afraid to attempt to defend his own home, as a reckless dare-
devil, keeping the whites in constant terror. How incompatible these
two traits of character. No ; it is not the reckless dare deviltry of the
Negro that terrorizes the South, but the conscience of the white man
whose wrong treatment of a defenseless people fills him with fear and
intensifies his hatred. He is determined to fill to overflow his cup of
iniquity. Like Macbeth, he has waded in so tar, that to return were
as tedious as to go over. It matters not how loud the Southerner
shouts about "the good-for-nothing Nigger," he still has the same
old anti-bellum liking for the women of that race. Bishop Turner is
the only honest and earnest advocate of Negro Emigration, the others
have only a half hearted leaning in that direction. If it were possible
for emigration to become a reality, the Southern whites would be the
hardest kickers against the scheme. The only beneficiaries from this
wonderful enterprise would be the steamship companies ; forafterthe
hundreds of years of transportation are over, then excursion parties
would be the order of the day for time immemorial. Our Southern
gentleman will not be deprived of the Negro woman. There is no
ocean too wide for him to cross ; no wall too high for him to scale ;
he'd risk the fires of hell to be in her company, intensely as he pre-
tends to hate her. Wilmington, North Carolina, the scene of that
much regretted phenomenon — the fatal clashing of races in Novem
ber, 1898, was not, and is not without its harems, its unholy m ng-
lings of Sheni with Ham ; where the soft-fingered aristocrat embraces
the lowest dusky sirene in Paddy's Hollow, and thinks nothing of it.
Molly Pierrepont whom I introduce to the reader in this chapter, is a
type of Negro women whose progress along ennobling avenues is more
hotly contested than any other woman in the South, because of her
beauty. To decide between the honor with poverty offered by the
3<> MOIXY PIBRREPONT.
black man and the life of ease with shame offered by the white one
is her " Gcthsemine. " Yet where love of honor has conquered, she
has made a devoted wife and a loving mother.
Such a character as Molly Pierrepont was an exclusive luxury for
gentlemen. The poor white could not afford to support a mistress
who of course went to the highest bidder. Ben Hartright left the
Wigwam before the close of the meeting in which he was so deeply
interested, and proceeded directly to Molly's cottage ; but he did not
notice as he tipped lightly through the gate a cloaked and veiled form
crouching down in the bushes a few yards away. He heard not the
light footsteps as it drew nearer to be sure that there was no mistaking
the visitor. Ben Hartright entered boldly ; knocking was unneces-
sary , he was master there. The furniture and hangings were all his
purchase, even the expensive jewels that the woman wore. The fig-
ure on the outside drew still closer, peered in, tip-toed upon the piazza,
pressed the ear against the window to catch as much as possible of
what went on within. Only a few minutes did it tarry however. As
the door swung open, Molly arose from the piano and advanced with
outstretched arms to meet him.
" Hello, Ben ! I thought you were to be here by eight to night. n
Ben Hartright sank upon a sofa and gently drew the girl down be-
side him before he assayed to answer her.
"Well, Molly, you must remember that I am iu politics now," he
said, kissing her fondly, and I must attend the different meetings,
business before pleasure you know. We are in the most exciting pe-
riod of the campaign; a campaign the like of which has never before
been experienced in North Carolina. We are organized and determ-
ined to save the State to the Democratic party and make white su-
premacy an established fact if we have to kill every Nigger and Nig-
ger-hearted white man in it. To make assurance doubly sure, we are
arming ourselves, and seeing to it that no Nigger shall buy an ounce
of powder, and every Nigger nun and woman is to be searched and
what weapons they have taken away that no white man's life may be
endangered. There are some Niggers and white men who must be
killed, and they are carefully listed."
Ben Hartright unbosomed to Molly the plots of the White Su-
MOLLY PIERREPONT. 37
premacy League in all its blood-curdling details, naming every man
and woman who were to be the victims of the mob's fury.
"Do you think that a very brave thing to do?" asked Molly at the
conclusion of Ben's recital.
"Oh, anything is fair in dealing with Niggers," answered Ben.
But the look of astonishment in Molly's black eyes suddenly brought
Ben Hartright to the full realization that he was revealing the secrets
of his klan to one of the race he was plotting to massacre.
"Of course we don't include such as you, Molly," he said, lightly
tapping her on the shoulder. "You are no Nigger, you are nearly
as white as I am."
"Nearly as white," echoed Molly with a sneer. "Do you mean
to try to choke it down my throat that my whiteness would save me
should your people rise up against Niggers in Wilmington ? Honestly,
Ben Hartright, do you mean that?" Molly arose from the sofa and
stood up before her lover that she might the better study his face.
Hartright was silent.
In Southern legislative halls white minorities in old Reconstruction
days ruled Republican majorities by appealing to the vanity of light-
skinned Negro representatives.
"You are almost white, why vote with them Niggers?" Ben
Hartright was using the old tactics ; he had realized that he perhaps
had been careless with his secrets. "What I really mean, Molly, is
that you are a friend of white people — that is you are not one of those
Nigger wenches who want to be er — er — ladies — that want Nigger
dudes to raise their hats to them— want to be like white people you
know. ' '
"I understand," said Molly.
" We white gentlemen believe in having colored girl friends, and
we always stand by them no matter what happens " Molly momen-
tarily eyed the ceiling.
"Benny, did you ever read Uncle Tom's Cabin ?"
"Yes, I have," answered Ben, but it has been too long ago to re-
member very much of its contents
"Why? Everybody should read that book it seems to me ; read
and read again Cassie's story of her love for the man who after prom-
38 MOLLY PIERREPONT.
ising to protect and defend her, sneaked away and sold her. Cassie
was almost white. Cassie was a white man's friend, and to that man
she was true ; but Cassie's story of betrayal, disappointment, misery
at the hands of that long haired brute who afterwards became her
master, would make the strongest heart weep. You will stand by
your colored girl ft lend. Perhaps you think you would, but I doubt
it, Ben Hartright. When that time comes that the two races are ar-
rayed against each other, my fair complexion will be of no avail. I
am a Nigger, and will be dealt with as such, even by the man who now
promises me protection."
Ben Hartright quailed under Molly's biting sarcasm. He was un-
prepared for this change of front on the part of his mistress. His pre-
tention of love were not sufficient to create in Molly a feeling of se-
"Then d'm it all ! you as good as tell a gentleman to his teeth that
he lies then? " said he doggedly.
" No ; I don' t mean to say that you lie. What you say to me now,
you may earnestly mean, but under circumstances just mentioned, you
would deny that you ever knew me. What you have revealed tonight
concerning your aims and plots, portrays to my mind just who and
what you are, and just who and what I am. Samson has revealed his
secret to his Delilah, and its Delilah's duty to warn her people of the
dangers that await them. Men whose lives are threatened must be
warned ; women who are in danger of being ignominiously dealt with
must be put upon their guard ; must know that these defenders of
virtue, these Southern gentlemen who are thirsting for the blood of a
slanderer (?) of white women are hypocrites, who strain out a gnat
and swallow a camel. ' '
"By the thunder, what do you mean by such language?" and
Ben Hartright arose from the sofa and glared at the girl, his eyes
flashing. " Do you know that you are talking to a gentleman? "
"Be careful," said Molly, "You wouldn't have the women for
whom you would be so chivalrous know who Ben Hartright really is,
would you ? "
"Why, what's the matter Molly?'' said Hartright in a more sub-
dued voice. Have you joined the sanctified band ? ' '
MOLLY PIERREPONT. 39
" No ; but I realize as never before just who and what I am, and
your trying to flatter me into the belief that I am better than black
women who try to be pure, is a revelation to me who and what you
are. There are men whom you have naned to be killed whose only
offense is that they are respectable and independent ; and women who
are hated because they are not easy victims such as I am — women who
will live honestly upon bread and water. These are colored people
who have so much confidence in the better class of white people, that
they would not believe that such a plot is being laid for their destruc-
Ben Hartright put his arms around Molly's waist. " I thought you
were a true friend of white people, Molly ; but I find that you are not,
so let's drop the unpleasant subject. If the Niggers keep away from
the polls, and don't attempt to run a ticket, there will be no trouble ;
but if they persist in defying the whites, there'll be hell. But all
pretty Nigger gals such as you will be all right."
"Unhand me ! " said Molly, twisting herself from his grasp. ' Go
tell your hypocritical associates in crime that the deed they are about
to commit will recoil upon their own heads, and upon the heads of
' ' But — er — now Molly — ' '
"Go !" hissed Molly, pointing to the door.
Ben Hartright walked slowly to the door paused and wistfully eyed
Molly who stood with uplifted hand pointing in that direction. "Oh,
you are quite full of race pride just now, but when it comes to decid-
ing between the easy life that a white man pays for and Nigger drudg-
ery, you'll doubtless change your tune. I leave you to reflect. '
Hartright walked out. Molly sank upon the sofa and buried her
face in her hands. -'How true!" she sobbed. "What have I
done?" but she rose and her anguish was gone in a twinkling.
"Easy life! Drudgery! But here I swear from this hour Molly
Pierrepont will live ?w longer such a life. ' '
Ben Hartright reached his home in Orange street about three o'clock,
noiselessly opened the door and strode up to his apartments, thinking
he would get to bed without disturbing his young wife ; but she was
not there. The bed remained as it was when the chambermaid left
40 MOLLY PlERREPONf.
it that morning, after giving it its finishing touches. Ben Hartright
looked about the room in wild amazement. He drew out his watch,
scanned its face eagerly. "Byginger!" he exclaimed, it's past three
o'clock. Wonder where is Emily ? This is indeed something un-
usual. " Thinkiag perhaps that his child might have taken ill during
the night and that his wife had remained in the nurse's room with it,
he crossed the hall and rapped upon the door ; a second rap brought
the nurse to the door rubbing her eyes. " What's the -matter, Fan-
nie ; is the baby sick ? ' '
" No, sah ! " answered the girl.
"Isn't Miss Emily in there? "
" No, sah ; Mr. Benny she aint in heah, sah. ' '
" Where in the thunder ts she then f" roared Ben Hartright, now
beside himself with rage. " Is this the way you look after your mis-
tress?" and he seized the already frightened girl by the shoulders
and shook her vigorously, turned away before she could utter a word
of excuse, and bounded down to his mother's apartments.
Mrs. Hartright, aroused by the noise above, was just emerging from
her door to learn the cause of it all. "Why, what's the matter, son ?"
she questioned gently, as Ben, both angry and frightened, strode up
to where she stood.
"Didn't you hear me asking Fannie where Emily is? Didn't you
know that she hasn't been in her room, and here it is nearly four
o'clock in the morning ! "
' 'Emily went out just after tea, and I thought she had returned,"
answered the mother. "Perhaps she went walking with some of he r
girl friends, was taken ill and had to stop at one of their homes. Wait
Benny, I'll dress and help you to look for her.
Ben Hartright turned and walked slowly to the door and paused to
wait for his mother. There was a turn of the door latch, a vigorous
twist of a key in the lock ; the door flew open and Emily Hartright
walked in. She apparently did not see her husband who stood and
eyed her angrily as she entered and began to ascend the steps to her
"Emily," said Ben, following and seizing his wife by the arm.
"Are you mad, if not explain this extraordinary conduct of yours.
MOLLY PIERREPON?. 41
Where have you been ? ' ' She turned, gazed into her husband's eyes
for a moment, then with one vigorous tug, she wrenched her arm from
his grasp and proceeded up the steps. The mother by this time had
joined her son, and they both followed the young lady who had entered
her room and was removing her wraps.
"What's the matter my darling ? " said Mrs. Hartright, throwing
her arms around her daughter' s waist. ' ' I was so troubled about you.
What kept you out so late, Emily ? ' '
Wait, mother, until I have rested and composed myself, then I will
explain," answered Emily, softly.
Ben had sank into a chair and sat with his chin resting upon the
palm of his hand. Emily sat upon the side of the bed.
"Men go night after night," she said, " stay as long as they please,
and return in whatever condition they please ; and to queries of their
wives, they are evasive in their answers ; but when a woman takes the
privilege of exercising her rights : — "
" Her rights," roared Ben, jumping to his feet. "A lady goes out
of her residence, leaves her servant and relatives iii ignorance of her
destination, returns at four o'clock in the morning to tell anxious hus-
band and mother about her rights ! We'll have a direct explanation
from you, Mrs. Hartright, without preambling. ' '
"I'll not be bullied, Ben Hartright," answered the young wife
calmly. " Remember that when you married me, you didn't marry a
chambermaid or housekeeper, but a lady of one of the first families of
Virginia, and such people brook no bullying," and Emily arose and
glared at her husband like a tigress.
Ben Hartright quailed. Never had he seen his little wife in such a
state of anger and defiance.
" If you are man enough to reveal your whereabouts until the small
hours bpirre morning, you can tell where your wife was."
Ben Hartright raised his eyes from the floor and looked at his wife
"When you entered the house of your mistress, Molly Pierrepont,
to-night, I saw you. I, your wife, whom you swore to honor and pro-
tect, saw you. She saw you embrace and kiss a Negro woman, the
woman of a race whom you pretend to despise, and whom you and
42 THE UNION AID SOCIETY
your pals are secretly scheming to cold bloodedly murder and drive
from their homes. Take care ! God knows your hypocrisy and the
deeds you commit will recoil upon your own heads."
' ' Emily, are you mad ? ' ' gasped the elder lady who stood as if
transfixed to the floor.
"Ask him," returned the young lady, "he knows whether or not
I utter the truth, or whether I am a victim of a beclouded brain. He
knows that he has wronged me ; he knows that he has lied to me. I
care not for your frowns. You a gentleman ? You hate Niggers, yet
you can embrace one so fondly. I will no longer live with such a
gentleman, who night after night under the excuse of ' clubs ' and
' business ' spends his time away from his wife, and in company of a
Negro woman. I am going home to my people."
"Now, Emily," said the elder Mrs. Hartright, "don' t start a scan-
dal ; remember that you are a Southerner. Southern people do not
countenance the airing of unpleasant family matters ! "
" Yes," replied the young lady, " this fear of airing family troubles
on the part of our women, has made us slaves, while the men are
licensed to indulge in all manner of indecencies with impunity. I will
be the first Southern woman to sever the chain of 'formality,' and cry
aloud to the world that I leave my husband because of his unfaith-
fulness. It is my right, and I will exercise that right."
Ben who had again sank into his seat arose and advanced toward
his wife to sue for forgiveness.
"Don't touch me !" she cried, with uplifted hand. "The cup
is full. Go back to her who has monopolized the best portion of
your time since you have married me."
Ben Hartright sank again into his chair and buried his face into his
"Now, my darlings, let mother be the daysman between you,"
said the elder Mrs. Hartright, coming near carressing the young wife.
" Benny knows just to what extent he has wronged you my dear, and
I believe him honest enough and manly enough to acknowledge it,
and sue for forgiveness, i leave you to yourselves. God grant that
you may be enabled to peacably settle your difficulties satisfactorily
to you both, without giving license to Madame Gossip. God bless
MOLLY PIERREPONT. 43
you." Kissing Emily, Mrs. Hartright descended to her r^om.
Ben Hartright succeeded in patching up matters with his wife by
promising to live a more honest life, only, to break it, which caused
her to make good her threat and leave him.
44 THE UNION AID SOCIETY
The Union Aid Society Holds a Meeting.
The home of Mrs. West was one of the many snug little cottages
owned by the colored inhabitants of that section of Wilmington
known as "Camp Land." It also had the distinction of facing
Campbell Street, the main thorougfare of that portion of the city.
Although Mrs. West knew something of slavery as it existed in North
Carolina, she was free born; her grandfather having purchased his
freedom, and afterwards that of the rest of the family before her
birth. The rule that the free Negro was a shiftless being more to be
pitied than envied by slaves, was not without many exceptions in
North Carolina. There were many Negroes in old North Carolina
who by grasping every opportunity to earn an extra dollar by work-
ing for neighboring planters when their own tasks were done, and
making such useful articles as their genius could contrive, often after
years of patient toiling and saving would often astonish their masters
by offering to puschase their freedom. There were others who paid
to their masters annually a specified sum of money for their time,
that they might enjoy the control of their own affairs as much as pos-
For many years before the war my father did public carting in the
town of Fayetteville as a free-man, his master receiving a certain
amount of his earnings. Of course there were free Negroes whose
conception of freedom was a release from manual toil, and who like
poor whites, lived a shiftless indolent life, following the sunshine in
Winter and the shade in Summer.
THE ONION AID SOCIETV. 45
Free Negroes in North Carolina had the right to purchase proper-
ty and enjoy other limited privileges. The parents of Mrs. West,
known as Burchers, emigrated to the West in the forties, where their
children could be educated. After the war Mrs. West, with her
husband whom she had met and married in Ohio, returned to North
Carolina, prepared to enter upon the work of uplifting the newly
emancipated of their unfortunate race; and now well advanced in
years, she could look over many years of active useful service in the
cause of her people. It was the evening for the regular monthly
meeting of the Union Aid Society of which Mrs. West was President,
and several members had already arrived; but in such a season such
business for which a society of this kind was organized would doubt-
less be neglected, so pregnant was the air with the all absorbing sub-
ject — politics.
But the Union Aid Society is composed exclusively of women.
What of that? Some of our most skilled politicians in the South are
among the women of both races. Although they do not take the
stump and sit upon platforms in public assemblages, they are superior
house-to-house canvassers, and in their homes noiselessly urge the
men to do their duty. For earnest persistence and true loyalty to
the party of her choice, the Negro woman of the South outdoes her
sister in white. Give the ballot to the women of the South, and give
her dusky daughters as equal show, and a Solid South would be a thing
of the past; for the Negro woman is the most loyal supporter of Repub-
lican principles in that section. So radical is the Negro woman, that it is
worth a husband's, or brother's, or sweetheart's- good standing in the
home or society to assay to vote a Democratic ticket. Such a step
on the part of a Negro man has in some instances broken up his
home. The Spartan loyalty of the Southern white woman to the
Confederacy and the Lost Cause was not m.ri maiked than is the fi-
delity of the Negro woman to that party which stood for universal free-
dom and the brotherhood of man, and whose triumphant legions so
ignominiously crushed Freedom's sullen and vindictive foe. Although
the Government provides for the annual placing of a small Hag upon
the grave of each of the thousands of heroes now sleeping in the
Southland, it is the dusky fingers of the Negro woman, perfumed by
46 THE UNION AID SOCIETY.
the sweet incense of love and gratitude that places the lilac, the rose
and forget-me-not there.
The Northern white woman in the South, in order to maintain her
social caste, generally allows her patriotism to cool. But the Negro
woman sings patriotic airs on each 30th of May as she twines wreaths
of pine to lay upon the graves of those who died for her. Of course,
these women who had gathered in the parlor of Mrs. West's cottage
were intensely interested in the coming election in Wilmington, and
were ready to discuss the event with all the fervor of their patriotic
souls. "Ladies," said Mrs. West after the prayers had been said,
and the minutes of the previous meeting read, "I confess that for the
first time since my election to the presidency of this society, I feel an
inclination to waive the transaction of its regular business, so depress-
ed am J over events now crowding upon us. " "I believe thats the
case with every one, ' ' answered Mrs. Cole. ' ' I have received a let-
ter from the Chairman of the Executive Committee," continued Mrs.
West, "stating that so grave is the situation all over the State that he
is advised by the Governor himself to withdraw Republican candi-
dates from the field — a request without a precedent in North Caro-
"It would never do to show such cowardice ! " said Mrs. Cole. "If
I were chairman of that committee I'd put the ticket in the field and
go to the polls if the devils were around it as thick as shingles upon a
housetop." "I was of the same mind" answered Mrs. West, "but
when the Governor of the State — when brave Daniel Lane has be-
come apprehensive, I can appreciate the gravity of the situation. I
have seen that man walk undismayed through the streets of Wilming-
ton during very turbulent periods in her history. I see that in the
upper section of the State the Democrats have already organized Red
Shirt Brigades who are riding through the rural districts terrorizing
Negroes, and we |may look for the same to take place in Wilmington.
Silas writes that they are determined to carry the election. He has
received two threatening letters and is afraid. You are aware that
that monster has been, and is advising the whites in our State to
copy South Carolina's method of carrying elections, and they are
heeding his advice. I am compelled to acknowledge despite my
THE UNION AID SOCIETY. 47
previous confidence in the integrity and honesty of our North Caro-
lina white people that my faith is getting shaky. The buying of guns
and other weapons by poor whites who are often unable to buy food,
means something. It means that the rich are going to use them to
perform the dirty work of intimidation and murder if necessary to
carry this electim." "Colored men must show their manhood, and
fight for their rights," exclaimed Mrs. Wise the secretary who had
laid down her pen and was attentively listening to the president's
talk. "But how are they to do it?" asked Mrs. West; "My son
tells me that there is not a store in the city that will sell a Negro an
ounce of powder. The best thing to do — if such things should hap-
pen — is to stay in our homes, and advise the men to be cool. Rash-
ness on their part would be all the excuse the unprincipalled whites
would want to kill them. Editor Manly' s reply to Mrs. Fell's letter
in August is now brought forward to be used by their stump orators
to fan the flames of race hatred." "I wish he hadn't written it,"
interrupted Mrs. Cole. "It was a truth unwisely said," answered
Mrs. Wise, "and by a man who meant to defend his own; so let us
make the best of it. I would not have Editor Manly feci for a mo-
ment that we are such ingrates as to say anything against him."
"The most important thing that I intended to mention, and which
makes me feel that our situation is a critical one," continued Mrs.
West, "was a letter that came this morning from Molly Pierrepont. "
"Molly PierreponM" echo every one almost in one breath. "Poor
erring girl!" said Mrs. Wise slowly. "What has happened her?"
"Molly has written me a long and even affectionate letter. She
writes, ' Be?i Hartright confided to me the other night the ghastly
plans of the Rough Riders, a band made up from the most respecta-
ble of the whites. 7 hey are to be reinforced from all over the State,
a?id even from other States for the purpose of killing and driving from
Wilmington objt ctionable blacks and whiles. Jolm Holloway, Nicholas
McDuffy, Editor Manly, John Brown, Lawyers Scott, Moore and
Henderson, George Z. French, Thomas Miller, Ariah Bryant,
McLane Lofton, Pickens and Bell and others of prominence and
independenence are to be special marks of vengeaficc. I beg you my
dear Aunt Betty, warn these people. I shall take it upon myself to
give the alarm, for these are my people. '
48 THE UNION AID SOCIETY.
"There is some good in this wayward child after all," said Mrs.
West, pushing her spectacles back, and looking up. "But who of
these people would believe that such was in store for them? These
men would not leave their homes without a severe struggle." "The
Government should protect its citizens in their rights," said Mrs.
Wise. "Government? Bah!" answered Mrs. West. "Here's the
highest official of the State afraid for his own life." "Well if the
Governor is incapable of coping with the situation, the President has
the power to send in the troops," said Mrs. Cole. "Yes, but will
he use that power? I don't believe McKinley is going to do any-
thing to offend the Southern whites if they kill every Negro in the
South. The interests of an alien race are too trivial to risk the
sundering of the ties that are supposed by the North to bind the two
sections. Each State according to the Southern view, is a sovereignty
itself, and can kill and murder its inhabitants with impunity. There
is no John Brown, Beecher, nor Sumner, nor Douglass, Garrison,
Phillips and others of that undaunted host who were willing and did
risk persecution and death for us; this generation has not produced
such precious characters. God is our only helper and we must look
to Him for deliverance. We are living too well for the broken down
aristocrats and poor whites who are disappointed because we are not
"Molly expresses her intention to call, and I was hoping she
would come before you all left. Perhaps you know Molly Pierre-
pont, for a woman of her reputation cannot help being known to a
small community; but you are not all aware of the fact that I raised
her, and took special pains to give her a good education, and I
thought she'd requite mc by trying to lead a useful life. " "But
you know Mrs. West, that Negro girls of attractiveness in the South
have a great battle to fight, if they wish to be pure," said Mrs. Wise.
"Thai's very true" answered Mrs. West; "I have often pondered
over the thought since she left me live years ago, that the conditions
under which she was born may have had something to do with shap-
ing her course in life. We. innocent as we may be, must suffer for
the iniquities of our parents. Before the war, there lived in Bruns-
wick a large slave owner by name of Philpot. He was the father of
THE UNION AID SOCIETY. 49
Molly's mother, one of his slaves. After the surrender, this woman
did not leave the plantation of her master but remained there until
her death. The child, Molly's mother, whose name was Eliza, at
the time of her mother's death was a pretty lass of fourteen; so
attractive that the father then an old man could not curb his brutal
passion. It is needless for me to speak plainer ladies. There is a
passage of Scripture which reads as follows: 'The dog has returned
to his vomit, and the sow that was washed is wallowing in the mire.'
The young mother brought the child to Wilmington, gave her to me,
and disappeared. Molly was then about four years old. Those who
knew of me and my affairs know how carefully I raised the girl. She
graduated from Hampton with honors, has a fair musical education,
and a voice that might have made her a fortune. Imagine how
proud her foster mother was when she returned home from school, so
full of promise. If she would only leave this place and seek to live a
better life in some strange community I would be more content. It
would be hard for her to do so here. This Ben Hartright and
another white gentleman had a free fight over her about a month ago.
Ben was prevented from using his pistol by the girl's timely inter-
ference. That fiend of Georgia who is urging the men of her race to
revel in the blood of their fellows, would do them more good by
urging upon them the necessity of good morals. Doubtless this Ben
Hartright is one of the leaders of this proposed raid in Wilmington
to drive out undesirable citizens, yet he is so low morally, that he
leaves a richly furnished home, a refined wife and pretty child to
fight over a Negro woman, for such he has I hear." "But this let-
ter proves that there are redeemable qualities in Molly despite her
birth and bad life. Magdalene made a devoted follower of Christ,
you know, said Mrs. Wise; "with God's help, she can if she wills,
pull away from her present surroundings and be a good woman."
"Yes, she says in her letter that 'never did the full realization of
what I am, come so plainly before me, as tvhen this villian so cooly
told me of his plans. I drove him from my presence as I would a
dog.' This shows that Molly's race pride is not entirely blunted by
dissipation and unholy living. I counsel you all ere you depart, to
remember that we are at the mercy of the whites, and each one of us
50 THE UNION AID SOCIETV.
should do all in our power to show our men the wisdom of coolness.
By this, with God's help, we may be able to avert the evil threat-
ened. I declare the Union Aid Society adjourned, subject to the
call of the president."
A few evenings after the unpleasant interview between Molly
Pierrepont and Ben Hartright, Silas Wingate, chairman of the
Republican Executive Committee, sat alone in his office. In that
morning's mail had come to him a letter from the Governor, full
of discouraging news as to the chances of Republican success
throughout the State, and advising that for the safety of life Re-
publican candidates be withdrawn from the field — a request unpre-
cedented in the history of the State. "This would be too cowardly
a backdown," he soliloquized. "The situation is not so serious
perhaps as the Governor imagines. Such bluffs the Democrats
have resorted to more than once before, but they didn't deter us
in the least. We put our ticket in the field and fought hard for its
election." But never before had the chairman of the Executive
Committee seen in New Hanover County such grim and warlike
activity on the part of the Democrats. The arming of the poor
whites, the hiring of sterner implements of war, secret house-to-
house meetings, and the stern refusal of dealers to sell a black
man a deadly weapon of any description or as much as an ounce
of powder meanr something more than bluff. Yet so strong
was the faith of Mr. Wingate in the integrity of the better classes
of Wilmington's white citizens that he was slow to grasp the situa-
tion although the evidence was so overwhelming. He took the
letter from the desk and read it for the fourth time since receiving
it, riveting his eyes long and intently upon the signature affixed.
Of all the years he had known the Governor he had never known
him to shrink or show cowardice in any form whatever, although
he'd passed through such crises as would tend to test the mettle
52 MOLLY'S ATONEMENT.
of any man. it matters not how brave. "Surely the situation must
be terrible!" finally observed Mr. Wingate, throwing the letter
upon the desk and whirling around in his chair. I will call a
meeting and put the matter before the committee. When that
man says back down then surely doomsday is not far off."
There was a timid knock at the door. Feeling that perhaps it
was one of his colleagues dropping in for a chat upon the all-ab- "
sorbing topic of the day, Mr. Wingate did not rise or turn his
face in that, direction, but simply bid the visitor enter. The latch
was timidly turned, followed by light footsteps, accompanied by
the rustle of skirts, and before he could turn his head to see who
this unexpected visitor might be, the figure had glided up to his
chair and two soft hands were pressed over his eyes. "Now, just
guess who it is. I will not release my hold until you do," was the
soft command. "Now, as I was expecting only politicians to-night
and, of course, no visitor in petticoats, I should be excused from
trying to guess who you are on these grounds," answered Mr.
Wingate, trying to force the hands which were firmly pressing
clown upon his eyes. "In such times as these you are likely to see
even the women in the forefront in the fray, and doing even more
than merely making calls," returned the visitor, releasing her hold
and stepping in front of Mr. Wingate. "Why. Molly Pierrcpont!
What brings you here?" exclaimed Mr. Wingate, rising and star-
ing at his visitor, who unceremoniously sank into a chair. "I am
somewhat interested in this campaign myself — astonishing intelli-
gence I know," calmly replied the visitor; "yet I am going to as-
tonish you more by saying that I have information to impart to
the chairman of the Executive Committee that will be of great
value to him in conducting tin's campaign." Molly's calm de-
meanor, so unlike a woman of her disposition and temperament,
struck Mr. Wingate somewhat humorously. Molly Pierrcpont,
having chosen a life of shame that she might — if only clandes-
tinely — associate with and enjoy the favors of the men of the white
race, would be the last person of the race to take a stand in its
defense to give aid to the. Negro in his combat with the white man,
politically or otherwise. Women of Molly's stamp, possessing no
MOLLY'S ATONEMENT. 53
race pride, had never been race defenders, so it was plausible for
Mr. Wingate to feel that the woman was jesting, or that she was
sent by his enemies into his camp as a spy. "In our present di-
lemma the Republican Committee stands much in need of informa-
tion and advice," said Mr. Wingate, slowly. "Things are assum-
ing quite a serious aspect; you are in position to get a good deal
of information as to the maneuvers of the enemy. But, my dear
girl, if you are here to aid us, have you counted the cost?" Mr.
Wingate knew that Molly Pierrepont was the mistress of one of
Wilmington's best citizens, a bitter Democrat, and a reputed
leader of the White Supremacy League; that she was well cared
for, that her gowns, etc., equaled in quality and construction those
of her paramour's wife, and, considering her love for such ease
and luxury, to come out and reveal the doings, and openly de-
' nounce the schemes of the party of her paramour, was a sacrifice
that a woman of her character was not generally ready to make —
in fact, such thoughts did not find lodgment in her brain. In the
flattering embrace of the Philistine all noble aspirations ordinarily
become extinct. Mr. Wingate's interrogation was followed by a
brief pause, which caused Molly to move uneasily in her chair. "I
see, Silas Wingate, that you question my sincerity," she said,
slowly. "I can't blame you, though. It is perfectly natural for
such as I to be arrayed with the whites or be neutral, stifling all
thoughts of being of service to my wronged people, because my
life belies it. But I am sincere, Silas; believe me," and Molly
reached over and laid her hand upon the arm of Mr. Wingate,
whose look betrayed his incredulity. "In spite of the lowliness of
my birth, and the life I have chosen, some good remains in me."
She went on : "My fair complexion and life of ease have not made
me forget that I am identified with the oppressed and despised."
"Thank God! thank God!" said Mr. Wingate, his face brightening.
"There is a ring of sincerity in your voice, my dear, that banishes
doubt." "I come to-night to warn you, Silas," continued Molly.
"Before many moons Wilmington will be the scene of a bloody
race war. Ben Hartright is my medium of information. He came
to my house last evening, and, imbued with the feeling that I was
54 MOLLY'S ATONRMENT.
in sympathy with the white element, revealed to me the dastardly
plot in all its blood-curdling details." Mr. Wingate trembled and
shook like an aspen leaf as Molly named the men and women sin-
gled out as victims. "These people have ample time now to make
good their escape. Tell them, Silas, that the best whites are in
this move, and they are determined to carry it to the bitter end,
and their only safety is in flight. Ben tells me that the plans are
well laid, that men will be here to assist in the dirty work from as
far South as Texas. I listened patiently to Hartright's recital and
then denounced him and his cohorts as infamous cowards!" "Did
you dare?" exclaimed Mr. Wingate, gazing eagerly into Molly's
face. "I drove him from my presence." Mr. Wingate drew nigh
and laid his hand caressingly upon Molly's head. "You have
risked much," he said, eagerly. "I fully realize that," returned
Molly. "When he had left me, what I had said ana done came
home with its full force, but, like Jephthah, I had sworn, and will
not go back; and here now, as I did then, I swear with uplifted
hand to' renounce forever my life of shame, and will be no longer
a Magdalene!" "Angels record thy vow in heaven," said Mr.
Wingate. "You can, with God's help, be true to your vow, for
Magdalene, who became one of the faithful, was a greater sinner
than you, Molly." "But Magdalene perhaps never threw away
the opportunities for good that I have," answered Molly, who had
arisen and begun to pace the floor. "Magdalene is not charged
with having spurned the love and sent to a premature grave a man
who offered to honor and protect her through life." "Don't brood
over the past, Molly," said Mr. Wingate, a grass-covered mound
in Pine Forest Cemetery rising before him. "Let the dead past
be gone." "I will not! I cannot!" said Molly, pausing. "The past
will spur me to higher aims in the future. I never can forget the
time that Harold came to make a last plea to me to be his wife,
expressing his willingness to make every sacrifice for my happi-
ness. He had bright hopes of success in his profession. Yet
I spurned his offer to live a life of shame with a white man. You
know he went to Macon afterwards, and there as a physician built
up quite a lucrative practice. He wrote me often; he spoke of his
MOLLY'S ATONEMENT. 55
prosperity and his unhappiness without me to share it. He could
not forget me. I tried to forget him by plunging deeper into sin.
It's some three years ago now since the last letter came, in which
he said, 'I am dying! dying! dying for you!' I tried to make light
of it as perhaps merely a jest. But, Silas, you know that it's quite
two years now since they buried the heart which I had broken in
Pine Forest Cemetery. Harold! Harold! If I could only call you
back with those sunny days of innocence. No one knows but
God what anguish I have suffered since you left me. But I was
unworthy of you, Harold, unworthy!'' The woman had bowed
her head upon the desk and was sobbing convulsively. "Oh, that
you could come back to me, Harold! Harold, tender and true.
How gladly would I accept your offer now, Harold. You would
forgive me, unworthy me." Her voice sank into an incoherent
murmur. Mr. Wingate was deeply moved. He arose and bent
"Courage, my child, courage," he whispered, soothingly. "You
have just started out to do the noblest work of your life. There
are many years before you to live nobly and amend for the past.
" 'Up, faint heart, up! Immortal life
Is lodged within thy frame.
Then let no recreant tho't or deed
Divert thy upward aim.
Shall earth's brief ills appall the brave?
Shall manly hearts despond?
Up, faint heart, up! The blackest cloud
But veils the heavens beyond.' "
These inspired lines caused Molly to raise her head. "I must
command myself," she said, firmly, "for what 1 have to do re-
quires courage." She arose and laid her hand caressingly upon
Mr. Wingate's shoulder. 'You will warn them, won't you, Silas?
Keep the men from the polls. Surrender everything. Better to
lose a vote than lose a life." She moved toward the door, Mr.
Wingate following. Laying her hand upon the knob, she paused
and faced him. "Coming events cast their shadows before," she
said. "I fear that our days of freedom are at an end in Wilming-
56 MOLLY'S ATONEMENT.
ton. Good night," and Molly Pierrepont was gone. "Poor girl,
poor girl," said Mr. Wingate, as he locked the door. She might
have been a queen, but, like the base Judean, she threw a pearl
away richer than all her tribe.
" 'Of all the sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these, 'It might have been.'
"Harold Carlyle's youthful life was blighted because he could
not give up this woman who was unworthy of him. But at last
repentance has come. God forgive her."
t)R. JOSE. 5?
I will read for your consideration this evening Joshua, tenth
chapter, eighth and tenth verses, which are as follows:
"And the Lord said unto Joshua, fear them not, for I have de-
livered them into thine hand. There shall not a man of them
stand before thee.
"And the Lord discomfited them before Israel and slew them
with great slaughter at Gibeon and chased them along the way
that goeth up to Beth-horon and smote them to Azekah and unto
Thus read the pastor of one of Wilmington's Presbyterian
churches at the beginning of one of the weekly prayer meetings.
"Brethren," said he, "I have chosen these two verses of Scripture
this evening because my mind is as, I believe, yours are — weight-
ed down by the situation that confronts the white people of this
city. No doubt all of you would like to see white man's govern-
ment permanently restored, although you are most of you averse
to resorting to physical force to accomplish that end. While most
all Biblical students believe and teach that God told Joshua to de-
stroy these Amorites, Canaanites and Jebusites because of their
wickedness, I go further and say that they were to be destroyed
because they were the black descendants of Ham, the accursed
son of Noah. Joshua was commanded to utterly destroy them or
put them under subjection according to God's word — 'Cursed be
Canaan, servant of servants shall he be.' The Jew in this instance
represented Shem, the blessed son, who was to triumph over Ham
and keep him forever in subjection. God has blackened with his
58 DR. ]OSE.
curse the descendants of this cursed son of Noah that Shem and
Japheth may ever know who the cursed of God is. You who are
hesitating in doubt as whether it is right to use force to put this
descendant of Ham in his rightful place — the place which God
ordained that he should be — I counsel you to ponder over the
passages of Scripture just read. The education of the Negro is
giving him an advantage that justifies our apprehension. This,
combined with accumulated wealth, make him a subject for grave
and careful consideration. We are in a condition of subjection
under Negro rule and domination that justifies the taking of the
sword. We are God's chosen people, the banner carriers of civili-
zation. We civilized the Negro and set him free, and it's our right
to return him, if necessary, to his former condition of servitude.
"The meeting is now open for prayer, praise and exhortation."
Saying this, Dr. Jose took his seat.
When the country was wrought up over the question of slavery
it was the Presbyterian Church South that drafted resolutions de-
claring that "Slavery is a divine institution." If a divine institu-
tion, then the destruction of that institution was wrong, and the
champions of freedom and the brotherhood of man open violators
of divine law. If it is the will of God that the dusky children of
Ham are to ever serve their brethren and ever to be reminded of
their inferiority, then why not the professing Christian, the minis-
ter of the Gospel, join in the work of carrying out God's decree?
The victory of Union guns at Fort Fisher brought many carpet-
baggers to Wilmington, many of them thrifty men of enterprise,
who willingly assisted their brethren to restore life to that devas-
tated town. Quite a goodly number of these good people wor-
shipped God in Wilmington's Presbyterian Church. Therefore,
among these cool and thoughtful Northerners the ministers' ex-
hortation to retort to the shotgun was not very favorably com-
mented upon at that meeting. But this did not in the least damp-
en the ardor of this hot-blooded Virginian. He went home, and
instead of kneeling, as usual, by his bedside to pray, he knelt in
1 i is study. "Lord, we are sorely tried; the enemies of thy chosen
people are waxing stronger and stronger. Thou art a God of
battle. Thou didst in days of old lead thy children to victory over
the enemies. Shall we this day rise in our might? Shall we
smite with the sword?" There are many instances recorded where
men strong in faith have heard the voice of God assuring them of
His divine approval, that He was ready to lead them to victory.
But Dr. Jose heard no voice, felt no divine presence near him.
He arose, took his Bible and turned again to the wars of Joshua
and the terrible triumphs of Jehovah. Mrs. Jose, seeing that her
husband lingered longer than usual in his study that night, glided
softly in to see what so absorbed his attention. "Why do you sit
up so late to-night, my dear?" she asked, softly, laying a hand
gently upon her husband's shoulders. "I am exceedingly trou-
bled to-night, Mary, darling," returned the minister. "This ques-
tion of Negro Domination is troubling us. We are about to the
point of desperation. Negroes are becoming so bold that our
white angels are no longer safe on our streets. We have made
up our minds to arm ourselves and shake off the yoke." Mrs.
Jose gently closed the book and laid her hand caressingly upon
her husband's head. '"Cease to ponder over and keep before you
the old Scripture, with its martial spirit. Remember Christ and
the doctrine He came to teach. He came to teach the new com-
mandment, to heal the broken hearted, to release the captives.
'Verily, brethren, avenge not yourselves, for it is writeen Ven-
geance is mine, I will repay, sajth the Lord.' What would Jesus
do under such circumstances? His was the spirit of love. He
would not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax.
Come away, darling, and leave the regulation of everything to
God." "But Mary," persisted the minister, "you don't understand
the situation. We, the men of Wilmington, see utter ruin in store
for us unless something is done to check the Negro. Our women
can scarcely venture out alone after dark, so ugly and bold has he
become under our lenient treatment." "This is all imaginary, my
dear," interrupted Mrs. Jose. "I am afraid that you have allowed
yourself to be influenced by these designing politicians, whose
desire to gain power has stifled their love for truth. Rev. Dr.
Jose is a Christian. Dr. Jose is a minister of the Gospel, who
CO £>R. ]OSB.
should not be enticed by sinners into evil. It matters not how
justifiable the deed may seem, you, my darling, cannot afford to
lend either hand or voice in this contemplated work. He that
taketh the sword shall perish by the sword.' Our homes, our fire-
sides, our women are perfectly safe. The only uneasy ones
among us are those who want offices. Come away, my darling;
leave wickedness for the wicked to do; you cannot afford to take a
hand in it." Mrs. Jose took her husband by the hand and gently
led him to his bedchamber. How much happier man would be if
in such trying periods of life he'd heed the counsel of the angel of
his bosom. But those who read the account of the massacre of
November, 1898, learned that among that body of men, who,
armed to the teeth, marched to Dry Pond on that fatal morning
was a minister of the Gospel. Some papers published the text
which that minister of the Gospel took to preach from the Sun-
day following, "We have taken a city," etc.
But those hands which turned the leaves of the sacred word
were crimson with the blood of the defenseless. "And Pilate took
a basin of water and washed his hands before the multitude."
But would we suppose that Pilate washed his hands only once?
Doubtless far into the night, when the faint shouts of triumph
from the enemies of God resounded through that ancient city,
Pilate arose from his bed and washed his hands again, but the
blood stains were still there. The court scene appears. The cry
of the Pharisees rings in his ears, the humble Nazarene stands
bound before him, then Calvary, with the three ghastly instru-
ments of death upon its brow, looms up. "Out, damned spot!
will these hands never be clean?" The blood stains upon his
hands have doubtless worried Dr. Jose somewhat, and all the
others who joined with him in the work of carnage. But the
blood stains are on their hands still, and the groans and wails of
innocents must ever ring in their ears. "It was a knavish piece of
work." "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Aske-
lon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters
of the uncircumcised triumph." — II Samuel, i, 20.
From the fall of Fort Fisher and political upheavals of the Re-
construction period to the awful tragedy of 1898, with the excep-
tion of a few tragic scenes. Wilmington had been the theatre of
one continuous comedy, performed by gifted players, whose
names and faces will ever remain indelibly fixed in the memory.
Phillis, "State Mary" Tinny, George Howe, Uncle Abram, Bill
Dabney, "Uncle Billy"' pass over the stage before me as I write.
But of those who unwittingly struggled for the foremost rank in
the line of fun-making, George Howe must be the acknowledged
Unlike others of the same school, whose minds had become un-
balanced by overwork, worry or disease, George Howe was born
a fool. Being a child of honorable and respectable parentage, the
playmates with whom he associated in his early youth were of
that class-who regarded his imbecility as a terrible affliction, were
charitable and kind, never allowing others to impose upon this
simple fellow, who was incapable of taking his own part. But as
George Howe advanced in years he gradually threw off his stu-
pidity, and although he never outgrew the habit of keeping his
mouth open, he ceased to slobber, and acquired the habit of look-
ing respectable. He entered school and became quite proficient in
one branch of study in particular — he was an excellent reader.with
a wonderfully retentive memory. But he never outgrew his sim-
ple-mindedness, and appellation of "Fool" always justly clung to
him, for, bright as he seemed to be upon many things, lie was
incapable of applying his knowledge to his own advantage.
George Howe kept abreast with the doings of the times, especiallv
in the political and religious world, and these two subjects he was
62 GEORGE HOWE.
always readv to discuss. Was there a public meeting called, relig-
ious, political or otherwise, George HoAve would be there, often
in some conspicuous place, with wide-open mouth and staring
eves, drinking in all that was said or done.
It mattered not how many were held in a single day or night,
George Howe would spend sufficient time at all of them to tell
something of what took place. For, with a jewsharp as his sole
companion, George could cover more ground in a single day or
night than any other inhabitant of Wilmington, keeping time to
its discordant twanks. During political campaigns, before the
press of the city could announce to its readers the result of the
contest, George Howe could be heard howling the news through 1
the streets of Wilmington. "Oh-o-o, look er here, every bod-e-e-e!
New York, New Jerseee, Dilewar hev gone Dimocratic by
big majoritees. Great Dimocratic gains throughout ther coun-
try." When, in 1884, the Democratic party astonished the coun-
try and itself by electing Grover Cleveland to the Presidency by
a safe majority, it was George Howe who led that host of elated
Democrats down Front street and toward the Custom House on
the evening of election day to inform Republican officeholders that
at length their time had come to give place for others. Being gen-
erally shunned by those of his own race, George Howe cherished
quite a liking for colored people, and could be very frequently
found among them in their religious meetings. There was some-
thing in the Negroes' mode of worship that seemed to fascinate
him, especially the saints of color who worshipped in old Ebenezer
Church, in South Seventh street. When that most eloquent of
pulpit orators, the Rev. William H. Banks, led his hosts to Cape
Fear River's brink, and drew three-fourths of the worshippers of
other denominations with them, George Howe would be there,
yea, marching with the converts themselves, joining as lustily as
they in the singing of that familiar old marching song:
"I'm er goin' up ter join in the army of the Lord,
I'm er goin' up ter join in the army."
Upon the river's bank he'd stand and drink in every word that
flowed from the mouth of that great divine. No Negro woman or
GEORGE HOWE. 63
man could lisp the name of "Brother Banks" with sweeter accent
than George Howe, and no one could sing his praises more ear-
nestly. Who can forget those early days of revivals and religious
enthusiasm in Wilmington, and the three great divines who filled
the three great pulpits from which the bread of life was given to
hungry multitudes. There was Lavender in "Christian Chapel,"
Slubie in St. Stephen, and, more powerful and influential than
either of these, was William H. Banks, the pastor of Ebenezer
Baptist Church. Even years after Slubie and Lavender had been
called to other fields, it was George Howe's delight to stand upon
the street corner opposite the residence of the Rev. Banks and
sing the parody to that famous old song that electrified and filled
with the spirit the revival meetings of the early seventies:
"Brother Lavender's got some liars,
Brother Slubie's got some, too;
Jus' carry 'em down to Cape Fear River,
An' Banks'll put 'em through."
Chorus: "Git on board, children," etc.
These great men are gone into the spirit world, but George
Howe still lives. Banks was the last to go, and when that coffined
clay was being borne from old Ebenezer. where for sixteen years
he had labored, George Howe was one of that multitude of bleed-
ing hearts who followed his precious bones to the burying ground.
He stood and looked on until the last spadeful of earth was thrown
upon the coffin and the mound shaped above it. After the death
of the Rev. Banks George Howe became very much attached to
his eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth, and he could often be seen
leisurely strolling down Seventh street in the direction of Banks'
residence, playing his jewsharp and singing the praises of ''Sister
Mary Lizzie" between the twanks.
"I'm er goin' down to Sister Mary Lizzie Banksies;
Sister Mary Lizzie is the daughter of Brother Banks,
An' I think er great' eal of Sister Mary Lizzie ;
Sister Lizzie, I've got ter tell you-u-u."
Pausing in front of the door, he would roll up his sleeves,
stretch his mouth, roll his eves and make all kinds of comical ex-
64 GEORGE HOWE.
pressions. "Sister Mary Lizzie, I'm jus' out er jail-1-1, I'm full er
lice-e-e; but jus' as soon as I take er bath I'm comin' back to see
you-u-u, for I have news-s-s-s to tell you-u-u." The young- lady
would often have to run in and lock her doors when she'd see this
harmless nuisance approaching.
George Howe was one of the few that listened to the Colonel
and Teck Pervis in the Wigwam on this particular night in Octo-
ber. Even when the ghastly plans of the murderous clan were
being discussed, no one thought of excluding the town fool, who
stood gaping around taking it all in. Schults, the German, was
arranging things in and about his well-filled and well-patronized
grocery store on Castle street on the following morning, when
George Howe entered. Grabbing a handful of dried apples from a
tray which sat upon the counter, he stuffed them into his month,
threw his long legs across a flour barrel and momentarily watched
the German as he busied himself about the store. "You didn't git
out las' night, Schults," said he to the German, gulping the apples
down to clear his throat for conversation.
"Oudt! oudt weer?" asked Schults, pausing with a tray of on-
ions in his hands. "To the mcetin' in the Wigwam," answered
George. They done er powerful lot er plannin' there las' night.
The Dimocrats mean business this time. They say they'll carry
the election this time or kill every Nigger in the district. An'
white men who are lukewarm, who don't come out an' take er
stan' with white men will share Niggers' fate. They got the
names of the lukewarm in this affair. I don't want ter skeer you,
Schults, but you are on the black list." Schults had laid down the
tray of onions and was eyeing George from behind the showcase.
"What did you say boudt black lisdt, Gheorge?" "I say they read
your name on the black list last night, an' that means they are
goin' ter kill yer, for their air determin' ter kill everything in the
way of white supremacy. I don't want ter skeer you, Schults; I
jes' wan' ter warn you. You hain't tended eny of their meetings,
and they conclude you air agin them. An' then you wouldn't
discharge your Nigger." Schults' eyes flashed, lie locked his
hands and brought them down upon the show case hard enough
GEORGE HOWE. 65
to break it. "What I keers fer der black lisdt. eh? 1 dondt keers
whadt dey duse mid Schults. Before I vould hep dem ter harm
dese kullod peeples py dams I suffers ter be kilt. Who ish mine
frients? Who buys mine groceries? Kullud peeples. When
Schults cum ster Wilmiton sick mit der rhumatiz, mit no moneys,
mit no frients, who helbs Schults ter git on his feets? Dese rich
bocra? No; dey kicks Schults off de sidewalks, cowhide Schults
on der sthreets. Who helbs Schults den? Kullud peeples! An'
befoe I rais' mine hand 'gin dem I suffer det. Let dem kum, kum
an' git Schults when dey chuse. Don't let dem t'ink fur er mo-
ment I no prepare fer dem. Dem Ghermans who 'lows dem down
bhroke ristocrats persuade dem gintz deir kullud frients who
thrade mit dem an' keeps dem from starvin' when dese rich bocra
thry ter dhrive dem frum des country deserbe de cuss ov Almighty
Got! An' you damn po bocras dat allows yo'uselts ter be make
fools mit you'selfs fer broke down risterchrats ter dhrive kullud
peeples frum dey homes deserfs efry one eff you' ter be kilt."
George Howe's under jaw dropped. He stared at Schults in as-
tonishment, for he did not expect to witness such a show of bra-
very on the part of this quiet German grocer. "I didn't mean to
insult you, Schults,' 'said he, reaching over and helping himself
from a barrel of apples which stood close by. "I jes thought I'd
warn you." "Now, dere's dat Gheorge Bohn,'' continued Schults,
with apparent inattention to what George had said. "I see his
nhame in der bapers as one uv der leaders in dis supremacy hum-
bug. Who makes Bohn whadt he is on Dry Pon'? Who makes
Gheorge Bohn whad he is in dis counthry? Dem very peeples
who he is now thrin' ter kill. Dem broke down risiercrats, sich
as Moss an' odders, cares no more fer sich as him den dey do fur
de grass neat der feets. When dey gits dcmselfs in office dem
Dutchmen kin go, po bocras kin go, dey cares noddings fur yo
when dey wus rich. Now dey air po as Job's turkey, dey wants
us Dutchmans an po bocras to dhrive oud our meat an' bread so
dey kin demselfs git fat at de public crib. But I tells you dis:
Schults will haft nodding to do mit dem. I stays in mine house,
mine house is mine castle, and ef dey wants me let dem cum to
06 GEORGE HOWE.
mine house, by dams I fills dem full uv lead; yo kin put dat in yo
pipe and shmoke id." George Howe arose, yawned, then slowly
walked to the door, turned, dropped his under jaw and stared
again at Schults, who had resumed his work about the store.
"Didn't mean ter hurt yer feelings, Schults, but ter put yer on yer
giard, that unless you jine em dey air goin' ter do> yo." George
stepped out upon the walk, drew forth his jewsharp and sauntered
up the street, twanking upon it as he went.
The German to the Southern Negro has been and is what the
Jew is to the Russian peasant — the storekeeper, the barterer. The
German citizen has never been a manufacturer or a farmer; he is
in no business that gives extensive employment to wage earners.
But, as a corner grocer, he lays for the Negro as he goes to and
from his toil, and, with cheap wares and bad whisky, he grows fat
upon his unwary customer. The German usually comes to this
country poor, enters small towns, and, by the aid of other older
residents of his nation who have already grown prosperous, he
goes into business on a small scale — grocery business as a rule.
He begins in a one-story structure, one-half devoted to business,
while in the other he lives. These little stores were never without
their indispensable liquor departments, where the trader was in-
vited to refresh himself after paying his weekly grocery bill.
Before the war the South's best people had no use for the Ger-
man emigrant, and did everything in their power to discourage
his living among them. If the slave returned home to his master
under the influence of liquor, the master in many instances went
and cowhided the seller. The flogging of the Negro did not keep
him from returning to the German to trade, and the German pros-
pered, and to-day is among the foremost property owners in the
South. I do not exaggerate when I say that the German's wealth
has come to him solely through Negro patronage; not even to-day
does the people known as the best people trade with Germans.
The Bohns — Joseph, Charles, George and William — coming
into Wilmington in the seventies, had lived principally and con-
ducted business in that section of the old city known as Dry Pond,
and, like the most of their kind, have accumulated their wealth
GEORGE HOWE. 67
from the patronage of the colored people, among whom they had
ever lived. This makes the crime of George Bohn appear the
more atrocious and cowardly. George joined the White Suprem-
acy League during the uprising in Wilmington, and was one of
its most active members. There was a certain colored citizen
who knew of Bohn's secret relations to the movement which dis-
graced the city. This man gave the information to the people of
his race who were patronizing Bohn, and entreated them not to
support such an ingrate. When the excitement was at its height,
when Red Shirts and Rough Riders were terrorizing the city, a
band of poor whites, headed by George Bohn, sought this colored
man's residence, battered down the door, fired several bullets into
the bed where the man and his wife lay, the latter in a precarious
condition. The house was riddled with shots; they were compelled
to get out and leave their own home, to which they have not as
yet been permitted to return. Bohn, after the deed was done,
sneaked back to his home, and when the horrible crime was re-
ported, tried to prove an alibi. But George Bohn is the guilty
man, and George Bohn shall not escape! The hand of Justice-
shall point him o-ut. His name shall go down to posterity on the
list of cowards who, on the 10th of November, 1898, brought into
disrepute the fair name of one of the best little cities on the Ameri-
When the Executive Committee, in response to Mr. Wingate's
call, met in his office the following evening, the Governor's letter
was read to them, and Molly Pierrepont's story repeated. Plans
of action were mapped out, but not without some bitter attacks
upon the enemy. Mr. Wingate's proposal to surrender for the
sake of averting bloodshed, if possible, however, prevailed. The
bitter language and threats made by hotheads would, if they
reached the ears of whites, only add fuel to the fire already burn-
ing; so the members were cautioned by the chairman to give to
the enemy no opportunity. But even among the twelve chosen of
God there was a traitor, and since that memorable time nearly
every band of brothers has had its Judas ready at any time of trou-
ble to sacrifice others to save himself, or betray them for reward.
Was there a Judas on the Republican Executive Committee of
New Hanover county? Yes!
In the days of slavery there existed in the South a kind of Negro
known as the "Good Nigger" or "White folks Nigger," who was a
stubborn believer in his own inferiority and the righteousness of
his enslavement. He sneaked around, grinned his way into the
confidence of other slaves, then stole away and told their secrets.
Were there any plots being concocted to rise up and strike a blow
for liberty, the good nigger would inevitably be there to join in
the shaping of plans, only to go out and hang his fellow-conspira-
The San Domingons in their struggle for liberty found this
good nigger a most formidable barrier, and those who are familiar
JUDAS ISCARIOT. 09
with the history of that bloody struggle know just how heart-
sickening was the taking off of this creature wherever found. In
many instances they cut off his toes, his fingers, his ears, his nose,
stuffed pieces of these extremities into his mouth, and left him to
die a slow death. The emancipation and the consequent opportu-
nities for intellectual advancement have not changed this good
nigger, for in numerous instances you will find him well educated,
and often swaying quite an influence in a community. But he is
generally an ignorant, shiftless fellow, forever lamenting about
his freedom, flaying the Yankees for taking him- away from his
master, who took care of him. He still likes to sit around on the
back steps of the whites' residences to talk about good old days
when he was free from the responsibility of "keerin' fer mase'f."
Or, in higher walks of life, from pulpit and public rostrum, he's
bewailing the shortcomings of his own people and magnifying
the virtues of the whites. He stands among the ashes of the vic-
tims of a mob's fury to abuse the Negro for having been killed,
and to praise the whites for the crime.
George R. Shaw, a prominent negro, writes a card to the public,
in which he says:
"One reason why such crimes are committed by negroes is that
there is no discipline over negro children. From ten years up they
are allowed to loaf about from place to place and with all kinds of
characters. They have no moral restraints. Book learning in
colleges dooms the negro to be fit for nothing. They think they
cannot do manual labor. What my people need is an industrial,
moral, common school training. Lynching does no good, and
makes bad worse. The brute who will commit these crimes never
sees a newspaper. Sam Hose and all such should die, but not at
the hands of a mob. The negro must be taught to abhor crime
from principle, not through fear. Let critics take this Sam Hose
case home to themselves. If the same crime was to happen in my
immediate vicinity most any of us would do very nearly like those
Georgians did. If we did not lynch him we would hold the cloth-
ing of those that were doing the lynching."
Shortly after the burning of Sam Hose in Georgia, a good nig-
70 ]UDAS ISCARIOT.
ger, signing his name as Shaw sent to a certain Southern paper
an article commending the action of the mob, and expressing a
willingness to have held their coats while the dastardly act was
performed. Did this man know that Sam Hose committed the
crime for which he suffered such a horrible death? Can men ca-
pable of committing such deeds as the burning and mutilating the
body of this wretch be relied upon for truth? If Cranford was one
of that mob of cowards who shot to death those manacled men at
PaJmetto, the knocking out of his brains would have made a man
of another race a hero.
Calvin Sauls, who had heretofore been a kind of an independent,
having at various times voted with Democrats, Populists, Green-
backers and Republicans, had shown a disposition to be earnestly
interested in Republican success in the campaign of 1898. Run-
ning here and there, attending primaries and committee meetings,
full of information as to the movements of the enemy, he had
worked his way into the confidence of these unwary colored poli-
ticians, who considered him an earnest worker for the cause of Re-
publicanism, so much so that he had been admitted into the head-
quarters of the Executive Committee on that evening. "And Ju-
das, having received the sop, went immediately out, and it was
night." No one noticed Calvin Sauls on that night, as he, taking
the advantage of a moment of exciting debate, slipped out into
the darkness, and made his way into the Democratic headquarters.
At the corner of Fourth and Chestnut streets a dark figure stepped
out from the darkness and confronted him. "Hello dar, Calvin
Sauls!" said a gruff voice. "Where is you sneakin' ter? You got
er few uv us fool, but not all. Coin' down ter tell wa't you foun' out
at de committee meet'n, eh?" O, g'wan way f'm me, man; I got
dese white fo'ks bizness ter ten' ter." The man seized Sauls and
held on to him. "Look er here, some women waited at de corner
of Red Cross an' Fourth street to beat yo' las' night." "Wa' fer?"
asked Sauls, trying to free himself from the man's grasp. "Fur
trying ter suade dey dauters down ter dat Fayette Club for dem
white mens." It's er no sich ting!" "You lie, you louse!" ex-
claimed the man, loosening his hold, and shoving Sauls nearly off
JUDAS ISCARIOT. 71
the sidewalk. Sauls, recovering, staggered on his way.
Ben Hartright leaned against a post on the veranda of the Dem-
ocratic Club's meeting place when Calvin Sauls came up. "Why
hello, Calvin, is that you?" "Yes, sah, Marse Ben," returned the
Negro. "I comin' ter make ma report." Ben Hartright inter-
cepted Sauls as he placed his foot upon the door sill and drew
him aside. "Say, Calvin, I saw you talking to a rather striking
looking colored girl the other day; who is she? Can't you fix it so
I can get an interview?" "Uh, uh," said Sauls, shaking his head.
"Dat's Bob Sims' gal; she jes from college, an' she's all right now,
I tell yer. You know dem Simses is top er de pot Niggers."
"That's the kind I always play for, Calvin; you know me," an-
swered Ben. "Gentlemen must always have the best, ding it all!
I though you were sufficiently well bred to know that the best of
everything in this world is for white people." "Dat's so," said
Sauls, "but yo member dat time Bob Sims cum nie beat'n dat
white man head off bout insult'n dat tudder gal er his. I feared
mon." "That's all right, Calvin; I'll stand by you. Molly's gone
back on me now; I'm afraid she's converted and joined the sancti-
fied band. By thunder, she defied me the other night." "Yes,
sah, an' she's in yernes', too; she's on de warpath fur true. I got
er heap ter report ter night, so I see you later on dat udder mat-
ter." And Sauls pushed past Hartright and made his way into the
On looking over the list of Wilmingtons' personages who have
been instrumental in moulding its character and making it one
of the most desirable places on earth, and the memory of whose
face and name revive the sweetest recollections of early youth in
the dear old town, the name and face of Uncle Guy comes most
vividly before me.
In ante-bellum days in the South, one week in all the year was
given by the master to the slave — a week of absolute freedom, in
which the Negro, unrestrained, danced and frolicked and other-
wise amused himself to his heart's content. This season of free-
dom commenced with the dawn of Christmas, and lasted until the
beginning of the New Year. The slave heard not the story of the
Christ, of the wise men, or the shepherds of Bethlehem; he saw
no Christmas tree brilliant with tapers even in the home of his
master. For, unlike Christmas observances in the North, full of
solemnity and historic significance, the Southern Christmas was
and is still a kind of March Gras festival, ending with the dawn of
the New Year. Early on each Christmas morning the slaves, old
and young, little and big, gathered at the door of the "Big House"
to greet their master, who gave each in turn his Christmas "dram,"
and then, like a kennel is opened and pent-up hounds are bidden
to scamper away, the slaves were let go to enjoy themselves to
their heart's content, and were summoned no more to the field be-
fore the dawn of the New Year. While in the rural districts the
frolics and kindred pleasures were the chief pastimes, in the cities
and towns the celebrations were more elaborate. In gaudy rega-
UNCLE GUV. 13
lia the ''Hog Eye" danced for the general amusement, and the
Cooner in his rags "showed his motions." For many years before
the war Uncle Guy was the star performer at these functions in
Wilmington. With whip in hand, he danced and pranced, and in
sport flogged children who had been naughty during the year.
But to us, who were youngsters in the seventies, Uncle Guy is
most vividly remembered as a musician — a clarionet soloist — a
member of the Shoo Fly Band, whose martial music will ever
ring in the ear of memory.
The fall of Fort Fisher added many a new face and character to
Wilmington life. Negroes who had in the conflict just closed
learned of the art of war, added impetus to and stimulated the old
city's martial spirit and love of gaudy display. And those who
through the same agency had learned in the military bands and
drum corps the art of music were indispensable adjuvants in ele-
vating her lowly inhabitants. But he who came with the knowl-
edge of music had a much wider field for usefulness before him;
for the Negroes' love for music is stronger than love for war.
Frank Johnson, who had the credit of organizing the Shoo Flv
Band, had not tasted of war, but he and Uncle Guy had been "or-
chestra" musicians before the war. And now, as the increase of
talent in Wilmington opened a wider field, the band was organ-
ized. It was called Frank Johnson's Band at first, but in after
years more familiarly known as the "Shoo Fly." The name is a
small matter, however; music was the chief thing. And how that
band could play it! There was a ring in that music that electri-
fied the soul and filled the limbs with renewed vigor.
There was Dick Stove with his trombone,
Henry Anderson with his bass,
Making music swift as raindrops in a race.
There was Guy Wright with his clarionet,
Henry Adams with his B,
And the music made the youngsters dance with glee.
There was Johnson, he play'd second,
Who, when horn-blowing was doll,
Could play a fiddle tempting to the soul.
74 UNCLE GUY.
At Hilton, Paddy's Hollow, at the Oaks, on Kidder's Hill,
Where good and bad alike could dance their fill.
Then there was Jim, the drummer,
Who could beat a drum like Jim?
Oh ! we little ones were awful proud of him.
How nicely he could keep the time.
"Shoo Fly, don't bother me!"
For I'm a member of old Comp'ny D.
It was down old Seventh to Market,
And through Market down to Third.
Playin' Molly Darlin', sweetes' ever heard ;
From thence up Third to Castle, while "Up in a Balloon"
Made us wish to pay a visit to the moon.
Then we had no Gen'l Jacksons
Dressed in gol" lace all for show,
Then such hifullutin notions didn't go.
It was music! Sweetes' music!
"Darlin', I am growin' old,"
Will live, forever live within the soul.
The old Shoo Fly Band is a thing of the past ; no more shall we
listen to its inspiring music, for the majority of its members have
crossed the melancholy flood. The last time that they appeared
on the streets of Wilmington only a sextet remained. Dick
Stove's trombone horn had been curtailed in order to hide the
marks of decay upon its bell. They gallantly marched up Market
street, and with a dismal, yet not discordant blast, turned into
Fourth, en route to Hilton. I think that Uncle Guy is the only
remaining one of that gallant few living in Wilmington to-day,
and the friends of those who departed this life in later years fol-
lowed their bodies to the grave keeping step to the sad wail of his
lone clarionet. Jim Richardson, Dick Stove, Johnson, Adams,
Anderson — I wonder, does he think of them now, tenderly, emo-
tionally and with a longing to join them on the other side. I
wonder if they all cluster about him when in his lonely hours he
consoles himself with his clarionet. For many years Uncle Guy
has been Wilmington's chief musician. Bands magnificent in
equipment and rich in talent have been organized, to flourish for
a few years only. But Uncle Guy's trio of clarionet and drums has
UNCLE GUY. 75
withstood the test of time; yea, they were indispensable for base
ball advertisement and kindred amusements, heading both civic
and military processions, white and black, in their outings and
celebrations, or with bowed head and thoughtful countenance he
has led the march to the grave. As I recollect Uncle Guy, he was
the embodiment of neatness, feminine in build — it seemed that
nature intended to form a woman instead of a man. Like a wom-
an, he plaited his hair and drew it down behind his ears. His
hands and feet were small, his fingers tapering; his face was black,
his eyes small, his lips and nose thin, his voice fine, but harsh, and
he slightly stooped or bent forward as he walked. There is poetry
in even' move of his bent figure as he slowly walks down the
street on this autumn morning. As we gaze upon him strolling
feebly along, we involuntarily sigh for the days when the heart
was young. May Day, with its buds and blossoms, Christmastide,
full of bright anticipations, come trooping up the misty way. We
are following the old band; listen to the music! How enchanting!
"Up in a balloon, boys, up in a balloon,
Where the little stars are sailing round the moon;
Up in a balloon, to pay a visit to the moon,
All among the little stars sailing round the moon."
We are making water-mills in the brooks; we are swinging our
sweethearts; we feel again the heart throbs of early youth when we'
dared the first caress.
"Shoo fly, don't bother me!
For I belong to Company D."
It is Monday morning — the washwoman's day of preparation;
when the clothes are brought in, the shopping attended to; when
the women congregate on the street corners, sit upon their bas-
kets and bundles or lean against the fences to discuss the doings
of the Sunday just past — what the preacher said and what the
neighbors wore, etc. Three women stood upon the corner toward
which Uncle Guy was tending. But they were not talking about
texts and fashions. Uncle Guy heard the following as he drew
nisrh: "Bu'n um! Bu'n ran! Good fer nuthin' broke down rister-
76 UNCLE GUY.
crats an' po' white trash. Ef de men kayn't git gun we kin git
karsene an' match an' we'll hab um wahkin' de street in dere nite
gown." Judge Morse passed by, turned his head to catch as much
as possible of what was being spoken. "Negro like," he said, as he
went on his way. "They are all talk. I was raised among them,
heard them talk before, but it amounted to nothing. I'm against
any scheme to do them harm, for there's no harm in them. This
Negro domination talk is all bosh."
Uncle Guy stepped to one side and humbly saluted Judge Morse
as he passed, then bore down upon the women who were vigor-
ously discussing the all-absorbing topic. The old man walked out
to the edge of the sidewalk, squinted his eyes and came slowly up
to where the women stood, comically pointing his index finger at
them: "Look yer," said he, "yuna ta'k too much!" raising his
voice. "Yuna mouts g'wine ter git yuna inter trouble; hear me?
Did yuna see Jedge Morse when he go by? Did yuna see 'im
stop ter listen at you? Le' me tell yuna sumthin' right good."
The old man shook his finger several seconds before proceeding.
"Dese white fo'kes is onter you, dey got de road all map out.
Dey no ebry move yuna Nigger makin'. How dey no it? How
dey no it, I say?" Another long finger shake. "Yuna Nigger
uraan tell um, yuna runnin' yuna tongue in de kitchen, yuna run-
nin' yer tongue in de street. Now, instid ov de bocra bein' in de
street in dey nite gown, yuna gwine ter be thar wid nuttin' on.
Don't you no dat we ain't bin able ter by er gun er ounce powder
in munts, an' de bocra got cannon an ebry ting. See how he'pliss
yer is? Now yuna go home, an' quit so much ta'k. Keep cool fer
dese bocra pisen." Uncle Guy walked slowly on and the women
dispersed. Those who read the newspaper accounts of that terrible
massacre know full well just how true was the prophecy of this
old citizen. Doubtless he looks back over it now as a catastrophe
beyond his expectations or dreams.
The five days prior to the massacre Wilmington was the scene
of turmoil, of bickerings between the factions in the political
struggle; "Red Shirts" and "Rough Riders" had paraded, and for
two or three days Captain Keen had been displaying his gatling
gun, testing its efficiency as a deadly weapon before the Negroes.
All of these demonstrations had taken place to convince the
Negro that to try to exercise his right as an elector would have a
disastrous result. Upon the conservative and peace-loving these
things had the desired effect. But the bolder ones showed a rug-
ged front, and on election day hung about the polls and insisted
upon exercising their rights as citizens, and many clashings were
the results. But the major portion of black electors stayed at
home in hope that the bloodshed which hot-headed Democrats
had been clamoring for as the only means of carrying the election
might be averted. When the sun set upon the little city on the
9th of November there seemed to be a rift in the storm cloud that
had for so many weeks hung over it, and the city had apparently
resumed its wonted quiet. Far out on Dry Pond, in the old
"Wigwam" a gang of men had met, who ere the sun should set
upon another day would make Wilmington the scene of a tragedy
astonishing to the State and to the nation. They had gathered to
await the signal to begin; they had good rifles and a plentiful sup-
ply of ammunition, and their tethered steeds standing about the
old "Wigwam" were pawing and neighing for the fray. The
clock in the old Presbyterian Church on Orange street dismally
tolled out the hour of three. Teck Pervis arose, yawned, walked
78 THE MASSACRE.
up and then clown the floor among the men who lay asleep with
their weapons beside them. He made a deep, long, loud whistle ;
the men began to arise one after another, and soon the room was
in a bustle. Some were washing faces, others sipping coffee as a
forerunner of something hotter that would stimulate and give
force to the spirit of deviltry that the work of the day required.
"Gentermen/ said Teck Pervis, standing in the middle of the
hall and holding a cup of coffee in his hand. "This is ther day
thet ther white people of North Ca'liny is going ter show Mr.
Nigger who's ter rule in Wilmin'ton, and there's ter be no drawin'
back in this here bizness." Just then Dick Sands interrupted the
leader by jumping out into the floor. He shuffled, he danced,
kissed his gun, threw it into the air, and twirled it between his fin-
gers like a born drum major. "Gentermen! hit's ther happies' day
I seed sence way foe ther war. This is er day I bin er longin' fur
and prayin' fur eber since ther ding Yanks cum and freed Mr.
Nigger an' sot im on ekal footin' wid er white man. Laws er
massy me'. Gentermen, I'se seed things happen in this here town
sence Fo't Fisher fell thet wus enuf ter make eny dec'nt white man
go inter his hole, an' pull his hole after 'im. Think uv it, genter-
men, think uv it! Nigger lawyers, Nigger doctors, Nigger store-
keepers, Nigger teachers, Nigger preachers, Niggers in fine
houses — why, gentermen, jedgmint hain't fur off. Who was in
ther Cote House thet day when thet Nigger White tole Colonel
Buck he did'n no law? I wus thar, an' never wanter see sich ergin.
Evrybody jis' opened his mouth an' stared fus at ther Nigger an'
then at Colonel Buck. I felt thet ther merlineum wus at ban',
jus' waitin' ter see ther worl' turn ten uppermos', an' go ter smash.
Whoopalah! but we air goin' ter show urn sump'n ter day, an' 1
jes wish thet Nigger White wus in Wilminton, fur these big Nig-
gers'll be the firs' whose cases we'll try. Oh. Mr. Peaman, Oh,
Mr. Bryant, Mr. Miller and all you uns er the Afrikin foe hun-
dered! yo time is cum!" Dick Sands ended his harangue by
turning a somersault. "I jes bet Dick Sands owes Tom Miller
now," said a young chap who sat leaning against the wall with
his legs spread out, laughing at Dick's Indian-like antics. "Yes,"
THE MASSACRE. 79
broke in another; ''Tom's he'ped er lot er we po' clevals; he"s lent
out thousans er dollars in all ter white men. Hits er shame ter do
him!" "Yes, I mus admit that I owe Tom, but this is er time fur
me ter jump bail," said Dick Sands. "I don't b'lieve thet er Nig-
ger should hav es much money es Tom's got no way. Hit's ergin
his helth. You know Xiggers liv longer po' then they do when
they air rich, bekase when they're po' they air in ther natruls, an
air easier kept in their places. Hit's these foe hundred Niggers
thet er raisin all ther trouble." . . .
"Well, les git ter bizness, gentermen," broke in Teck Pervis.
"There's er lot befoe us ter do; Hell is ter begin at ther Cotton
Press under Kurnel Moss, while Cap'n Keen'll kinder peramer-
late er roun in ther middle er ther town with thet everlasting hell
belcher uv his ter keep tings in check. Kurnel Wade, Tom
Strong, Hines an uther big tins will sortie er roun' to'ards Dry
Pond an blow up ther print'n press; thets ter draw ther Niggers
out frum ther Cotton Press, so thet Kurnel Moss kin git at um.
an mow em down. We uns will canter to'ards Brooklyn holdin'
up Xiggers as we go. Then we air to jine Hill, Sikes, Turpin,
Isaacs an' others, an' raise hell in thet sexion. We uns air ter take
no chances wid theese Wilminton darkies. I ain't ferget Seventy-
six. Let nun git by without bein' sarched. uraan er man. Shoot
ef they resiss. Them's the Kurnel's orders." "Who is this man
Isaacs?" asked a stranger from Georgia. "A Jew?" "Thet name's
Jewey e'nuff fur yir, ain't it?" replied Dick Sands. "He is er
Jew, an er good un, I tell yer. I never took much stock in er
Jew, but this here un is er bo'n genterman, mo fit ter be Chris-
tun. No church in hard circumstance is ever turned awav from
Ole Mose: he he'ps em all, don't kere what they be. Jewish, Prot-
estan er Caterlick, white er black. He throde his influence with
ther" Prohihitionists some years er go, an foute hard ter make er
dry town outer Wilminton, but ther luvers uv ole ginger wair too
strong an jes wallop V ther life out er ther cold water uns. Ole
Mose tuk hit cool, he died game, took his defeat like er bon fight-
er, bekase he'd done an fill'd his jugs an' stowd em up in de house
afore ther fight begun, so he cu'd erford ter be beat. Takin er
80 THE MASSACRE.
drink in public was ergin his creed. Nice ole Jew tho. Keeps er
paint store down street, and deals in painters' merterial, but never
buys er baral er biled oil wonc't in five yers; but, like de widder in
the Scripter, he alers has er baral ter draw frum when.er customer
wants biled oil. Ole Mose is er fine man tho; jes go in his stoe ter
buy sumthin, pat him on his back, and tell him he is er bo'n gen-
terman, an thet you b'lieve he kin trace his geneology back ter
Moses an ther prophets, and thet his great-granddaddy's daddy
was ther only Jew thet sined ther Dicleration of Independance;
thet he looks like Napolyan, and he'll jes go inter his office an
fetch yer ther fines' segyar yer ever smoked an foller yer all over
ther stoe. Nice ole Jew Isaacs is. Ter see him stridin down ter
bizniss ov er mawnin, yer air reminded uv ther prophets uv ole
jurneyin toards Jarusalum ter read ther law." "What is the fel-
ler's name?" soliloquized a sallow-looking chap who stood with
his back to the stove scratching his head in perplexity. "Name?"
leturned Dick Sands. "Why is you bin er listenin ter me all this
time an dunno who I'm talkin erbout?" "Excuse me," returned
the sallow man; "I no powerful well who yer ware talking er bout,
and I wus tryin ter think uv ther name uv thet chap who's bin er
stump speakin up in Sampson." "Fisher?" "No-o-o, thet ain't ther
name; he's ther feller thet's runnin fur Congress." "Belden!" ex-
claimed several in one breath. "Thet's ther feller. Look er here,"
continued the sallow man, "he tole we uns up there thet ef we
cum an he'p ter make Wilminton er white man's town, we ware
ter jes move inter ther Niggers' houses an own em; thet's what
brung me here ter jine in this here fite." "Well, I tell yer fren,"
answered Dick, "we air goin ter make this er white man's town,
thet's no lie, but ther ain't no shoity er bout ther other matter."
"Boots an saddles." Further conversation was cut off. Every
man flew to his horse and the host of murderers were off in a jiffy.
The city of Wilmington was startled by the loud report of a
cannon on the morning of November 10th, 1898, which made her
tremble as though shaken by an earthquake. Molly Pierrcpont
arose, hastened to the south window of her cottage and looked
out; the clouds which hung low over Dry Pond were as brilliant
THE MASSACRE. SI
in hue as though they hung- over a lake of fire. " Tis fire!" ex-
claimed Molly; "the hell hounds are at their work. Ben Hart-
wright is keeping his word. But it's at the Cotton Press that the
dance of death was to really begin, where hundreds of unsuspect-
ing men are at work. The fire and the cannon shot are only a ruse
to entice them out to be shot down. They must be warned! I
must warn them!" She hastily dressed herself, locked her cottage
and hurried away. Down Bladen street she hastened, turned into
Fourth and across Bony bridge. At the corner of Campbell
street she came upon a large body of armed men who were par-
leying with a negro who was making a futile protest against being
searched. More than half a dozen of them thrust pistols into the
helpless and frightened man's face, while two others rifled his
pockets for firearms. All this Molly took in at a glance, as she
hurried down Campbell street toward the press. At the corner
of Third street she encountered five white boys, mere lads, who
were proceeding up Campbell street. "Halt!" cried they all in
one voice, and five pistols were thrust into her face. Molly
paused, but with no show of embarrassment or dismay. "Come,
hoi up your hans!" commanded one of them, advancing a step
nearer. "Hoi on, fellers, we're not to search white ladies," said
another, lowering his pistol, and attempting to push the others
aside. "O, she's no lady; she's er nigger; I know her," returned
the lad who gave the command. "Search her! tear her clothes
from her! All er these nigger women are armed." The boy raised
his hand to seize Molly, but was not quick enough. Molly stepped
back; a quick raise of her foot sent the boy sprawling into the
gutter. This completely demoralized his companions, who broke
and ran. A gang of men coming up Third street inspired the
bovs to renew the attack upon the woman, who was hurrying 1 on
her way. "Nigger," cried the boy, raising himself up and scram-
bling from the gutter into which Molly's well-aimed kick had sent
him. The men ran and overtook Molly, spread themselves across
the sidewalk in front of her. "Will I never be permitted to reach
the press?" she murmured to herself. "You've got ter be search-
ed, ole gal," said one of the men, with a mocking smile of triumph
82 THE MASSACRE.
in his face, an' you jes' es well let these boys go through them duds
er your'n an' have done with it. Come now, hands up!" and they
all glared like hungry wolves at the woman, who stood apparently
unmoved. Molly drew herself up to her full height. "Cowards!"
she shrieked. "Not satisfied at the cutting off of every means of
defense from the black men of Wilmington, that you may shoot
them down with impunity, you are low enough to take advantage
of their helplessness to insult weak women. But here I stand!"
she cried, stepping backward, and drawing a gleammg revolver
from beneath her cloak. "Search me! but it must be done when
the body is lifeless; I'll be a target for the whole of you before I'm
searched; so let the battle begin."
The men stared at the woman in amazement. "Pluckies' Nig-
ger gal we're tackled ter day!" exclaimed a gruff and rough-look-
ing chap. "Got grit enough ter buil er fort. Let her go, men;
not er hair un her hed mus' be tech'd!" The men stepped to one
side, and Molly proceeded on her way. When she reached Front
street the sight which met her gaze caused her blood to chill.
From Front to Water street below was choked with armed men.
To pass through such a crowd without much more difficulty was
impossible. "Too late!" she sobbed. Rushing across the railroad
bridge, she hastily descended the steps to the road below, crossed
the tracks to the shed of the great compress, and entered by one
of the large side doors. News of burning and pillage on Dry
Pond had been conveyed to the workmen by another, and the
news had brought confusion among them indescribable. At the
main entrance to the press stood an army of whites, ready to shoot
them down as they rushed forth to go to the rescile of their wive*
and little ones whom they thought were being murdered. White
men with a cannon mounted on a lighter anchored in the river
just opposite were waiting to fire upon those driven back by the
fire from Colonel Moss' riflemen in Water street.
A crowd of frightened and angry men hastily retreating towards
this death-trap were suddenly confronted by a woman, who like
an heavenly messenger, stood with uplifted hand, her hair stream-
ing in the wind. "Back! Back men!" she cried. "To go to the
river is to be killed also; they're waiting there for the opportuni-
ty." "Molly Pierrepont!" exclaimed one of the men in astonish-
ment. "No time for questions now!" said the woman; "your
only safety from slaughter is to remain in this shed; you are not
able to cope with that mob of cowards on the outside, who no\v
are even searching: women in a most shameful manner on the
THE MASSACRE. 83
streets. "Back! Don't rush like fools to death." Molly's head
began to whirl. Before any one could reach out a hand to catch
her, she sank in a swoon upon the floor. Tenderly the prostrate ■
form was lifted up. and borne to a place of safety, and an effort
made to revive her. At the front entrance were huddled hun-
dreds of negroes, cursing and crying in their desperation. On
the opposite side of the street in front of a company of armed
whites stood Colonel Moss, his face red with determination.
Above the oaths and groans of the helpless negroes his harsh
voice was heard: "Stand back, Mr. ! I tell you again,
stand out of the way, that I may blow them into eternity." Mr.
heeded him not, and Colonel Moss was afraid to fire for
fear of injuring a British Consul. There were tears in the eyes
of this good man as he went about among his angry workmen im-
ploring them to keep cool. It was his bravery and presence of
mind that prevented the ignominious slaughter of hundreds of
defenseless men by a mob of armed cowards, who stood there
awaiting the signal from Colonel Moss to "Blow them into eter-
Dispatching a messenger to Dry Pond, who returned with the s
assurance that no one had been killed, was instrumental in cool-
ing the negroes and inducing them to return to work. Mr.
kept at his post until the white mob melted away to join their
fellows in other portions of the city. Look! up Front Street
comes an excited crowd of men and boys. Every one of them
seems to be wrought up to the highest pitch of excitement. Every
individual is struggling to get to some one who is in the centre
of the crowd. On they come! struggling, pushing and swearing.
As the mob draws near, the tall, stately figure of an old man is
seen towering above them. His abundant hair and beard are
shaggy and gray. He stares wildly at his tormenters, and begs
them to spare his life. They shove, they kick, they slap him.
"Shoot the Yankee dog! Hang him to a lamp post! Nigger
hearted carpet bagger! Kill him!" Still the crowd pushes to-
wards the depot. "Who is this man? What has he done?" asked
a stranger. "Done!" exclaims a citizen close by. "Why he's
been teachin' niggers they're es good es white men." "How
long has he been in Wilmington?" "Ever sence the fall er Fort
Fisher." "Is he a tax paver? Is he or has he ever engaged in any
business in the community?" "Well, yes; he owns er whole coun-
ty up the road there er piece." "Think of it! Bin here all these
years, an' we can't make er decent white man out'n him!" "Well,
84 THE MASSACRE.
if he has been in this community as long as you say, and is to the
community what you acknowledge, I'd like to know what right
his fellow citizens have to — " "Well now, stranger, don't you
think you're gettin' too inquisitive? When er white man shows
that he's ergin er white man, the question of what he owns don't
cut no ice; he's got ter go. This is er white man's country, an'
white men are goin' ter rule it." Saying this the citizen hastened
away to join the mob, who were then crossing the bridge to the
depot to put the undesirable citizen upon the train to send him
The mob that had a few hours previous made a futile attempt
to butcher the negroes at the Compress had now moved in the
direction of Brooklyn like a whirlwind, sweeping men, women
and children before as it went. Negroes, filled with terror and
astonishment, fled before this armed mob, who shot at them as
When in a certain battle during the Revolutionary War, terror
stricken colonists were retreating before the superiorly equipped
and disciplined British soldiers, it was Israel Putnam who vainly
implored the frightened Americans to make a stand. General
Putnam cursed and swore, when he saw that it was impossible
to stop his men and induce them to give battle to the British.
Was there a Putnam here to essay to inspire courage into these
frightened negroes, who left their wives and children at the
mercy of the mob, and were fleeing toward Hillton? Yes, there
was one, and his name was DAN WRIGHT. Did Dan Wright
fully realize the enormity of his act as he faced this mob of white
Imen, armed to the teeth, now pressing down upon him? Dkl
♦Dan Wright feel that death was to be his reward for this act of
bravery? Yes, but this did not deter him or affect the steadiness
of his aim. Above the oaths and yells of this band of cowards,
now almost upon him, the report of his rifle rang out, and a
bandit reeled and fell from his horse. But Dan was not to es-
cape; the crowd pressed upon him and crushed him to the earth;
they riddled his body with bullets, and dragged him bleeding
and torn through the streets. "Back wench!" cried a bandit, as
poor Mrs. Wright pressed forward to succor her dying husband.
"You shall not touch his black carcass; let the buzzards eat it!"
But the mob did not tarry long beside Dan's bleeding form ; they
swept on to Brunswick Street, where they divided, some turning
into Brunswick, while others rode toward Hillton. Dan Wright
did not die in the street, however. Torn and riddled as his body
THE MASSACRE. 85
was, he lingered a few days in agony in the city hospital before
death released him. "And the king followed the bier; and the
king lifted up his voice and wept; and the king said, 'Died Abner
as a fool dieth?" "
As we gaze upon the bleeding form of this simple negro, this
question comes forcibly to us: Died Dan Wright as a fool dieth?
Was it right for him to stand alone against such fearful odds?
Yes, that the chronicler in recording this terrible one-sided fight
might be able to mention one act of true bravery; that among so
many cowards there was one man.
I knew Dan Wright ever since he was a lad. He was simple,
quiet, unobtrusive; pious in life and glorious in death.
"He was swifter than an eagle; he was stronger than a lion."
Over the humble grave in which he sleeps no shaft of granite
rises to point to passers-by where this martyr to the cause of
freedom lies. But when Justice shall write the names of true
heroes upon the immortal scroll, she will write the names of
Leonidas, Buoy, Davy Crocket, Daniel Boone, Nathan Hale,
Wolf, Napoleon, Smalls, Gushing, Lawrence, John Brown, Nat
Turner, and then far above them all, in letters that shall shine as
the brightness of the firmanent, the na,me of DAN WRIGHT.
Unlike most of the heroes named above, Dan's name will not
in this generation be engraved upon brass or steel, or carved in
marble. To an unsympathetic world he was an outlaw, who
raised his arms against kings and princes, who feel that they have
the sanction of God Himself to trample upon the lowly.
With tall pines as sentinels keeping watch over it, and stars for
tapers tall, the body of this immortal hero lies beneath the soil
enriched by his blood.
"Fleet foot on the corey,
Brave counsel in cumber,
Red hand in the foray,
How sound is the slumber!"
Who killed this simple fellow, and the score of others of his
race who fell on that eventful day? The blame is laid upon the
Georgians, who were invited there to assist in restoring white
man's government, when there had never been any other gov-
ernment in existence there. But who is really responsible for this
cowardly massacre? Wilmington's best white citizens, by whose
invitation and under whose directions the Georgians acted. And
what better market could have been sought for murderers and
cowards and assassins, and intense haters of negroes than Geor-
8(5 THE MASSACRE.
gia? In ante-bellum days Georgia outdid all other slave-holding
States in cruelty to its slave population. The North Carolina
master could subdue the most unruly slave by threatening to sell
him or her into Georgia. The old negro voo-doo doctor or for-
tune teller could fill any negro for whom she had formed a dis-
like with terror, and bring him to her feet begging for mercy
by walking backward, making a cross with her heel and proph-
esying, "You'll walk Georgia road."
When Georgia, the altar for human sacrifices, perfumed by the
odor of cooked human flesh, travailed, she brought forth the
prodegy of the nineteenth century, whose cries for blood would
startle Catherine De Medici and cause Bloody Mary to look-
. Georgia bore upon her sulphurous bosom an Andersonville,
within whose walls thousands of the nation's noblest sons suffered
the most inhuman treatment and died the most agonizing and
ignominious death. Georgia trained her cannon upon these ema-
ciated, starved vermin-eaten creatures rather than submit to their
rescue by an invading army. Georgia's convict camps of the
present day are worse than slavery, and more intolerable than
the Siberian mines. The order of the States upon the map should
be changed so as to read as follows : North Carolina, South Car-
olina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisana, Texas, Georgia, Hell.
The people of Wilmington were bargaining for the genuine arti-
cle when they sent to Georgia for trained murderers and assassins.
J Josh Halsey was the second one to fall on that fatal day. Josh
was deaf and did not hear the command to halt, and ran untiL
brought down by a bandit's bullet. Josh Halsey was asleep in
bed when the mob turned into Brunswick Street, and his daugh-
ter awoke him, only to rush from his house to death. The mob
swept on over his prostrate form, shooting into private dwellings,
and frightening men and children, who fled to the woods for
safety, or hid beneath their dwellings.
Let us go back and see what has become of Molly. To bring
her around it required heroic efforts on the part of men and the
women who were the sewers of bagging on the docks. Too weak
for further effort in behalf of her people, she was tenderly lifted
into a buggy, carried up by way of the old Charlotte depot to her
home in Brooklyn. Mrs. West, who knowing of her determina-
tion, and anxious as to her fate, had arrived at the cottage that
morning too late to intercept Molly. She lingered about the cot-
tage, however, and when they bore the exhausted and faint girl
THE MASSACRE. 87
home, the foster mother was frantic with grief. "It was only a
fainting spell, mother," said Molly, as Mrs. West bent over her.
"I was there in time to save them, but it cost me — oh so much."
"You have done nobly," returned the mother, soothingly. Your
name should be placed upon the roll of honor, my dear. Go to
sleep; rest serenely upon your laurels."
Dr. Philip Le Grand.
St. Stephen's Church on the corner of Red Cross and Fifth
Streets, in Wilmington, is among the finest and most refined of
the A. M. E. Conference. In appointing ministers to this post
the most diligent care has always been exercised, for the appointee
must be of the most eloquent, the most learned and efficient in
the gift of the assembly. So St. Stephen's audiences have lis-
tened to some of the world's best orators, and have had the word
expounded by superior doctors of divinity. Who of that great
church can forget Frey Chambers, Thomas, Nichols, Gregg, Epps
and others whose names I cannot now recall? St. Stephen's is
among the finest of church edifices in the city, put up at a cost of
over sixty thousand dollars, with a seating of twenty-two hun-
dred. Back of her pulpit stands an immense and costly pipe
organ, operated by water power, and presided over by a young
woman raised up in the church, educated in the public schools
of Wilmington. During the political upheaval in Eastern North
Carolina, it was the fortune of Rev. Philip Le Grand, D. D., to
be the pastor of St. Stephen's, in Wilmington, and there is living
to-day. Many men and women owe their lives to the wonderful
presence of mind, superior tact and persuasiveness of this grave,
good man. Besides being a minister, he had filled many posi-
tions of trust in the South. Yet Dr. Le Grand was both unas-
suming and undemonstrative. He looked for and expected a
clashing of races on election day in Wilmington, but that which
took place on the 'ioth of November was far more than he was
prepared to grapple with. The dawn of that fatal day found the
streets of Wilmington crowded with armed men and boys, who
had sprung, as it were, by magic from the earth. Aroused by
loud noises in the neighborhood of his residence, the minister
arose early, dressed and hastened into the street. A large crowd
of colored citizens, mostly women, stood upon the street corner
half a block away, excitedly talking and brandishing broomsticks,
stove-pokers, hoes, axes and other rude implements of war. All
88 THE MASSACRE.
was confusion among them. There seemed to be no leader, but
each individual was wildly ejaculating in a manner that showed
that she or he was highly wrought up. Dr. Le Grand came
slowly up to them, paused and raised his hands for silence. "Why
this excitement so early in the morning?" he asked. "We's pre-
pared fer urn ter day," said a woman, coming forward and bran-
dishing a broomstick. "Dey says dey gointer kill niggers, but
we's gwine ter tek er few er dem long wid us." "Bah!" exclaimed
the minister. "What will such a thing as that amount to against
rifles? Disperse and go home, or you'll be sorry." This com-
mand had but slight effect upon this throng, whom Rev. Le
Grand left and proceeded toward a crowd of white men and boys
who stood not far distant, apparently debating the question of
bearing down upon and dispersing the blacks on the corner.
"Halt!" said one of the men, stepping in front of Mr. Le Grand
and placing his rifle against his breast. "You can't go no further;
this town's under military law now." "What means this dem-
onstration?" calmly asked the minister, with his eyes fixed stead-
ily upon the face of the man who had given the command. "It
means that white men are in charge of things from now on," said
another fellow, stepping up and eying the minister contemptu-
ously. You educated nigger preachers have been teaching your
race that white men are not ordained to rule, and such teaching
has got 'em beside themselves, so much so that the white people
are compelled to take stringent measures."
"Will you kindly inform me who the leader of this movement
is?" persisted Dr. Le Grand calmly. "Big words these," said the
first man who had spoken. "I guess we'd better settle this nig-
ger." "Hold on, Sam," said the second man, pushing aside the
gun the man had raised. "This is St. Stephen's preacher. He is
not on the list. "I'm out here in the name of peace," said Dr.
Le Grand, "willing to do anything to bring that end." "Well,"
said the leader, producing a notebook from his breast pocket, and
scribbling something in it, "we came out to-day to wash the streets
in nigger gore, and if you can induce them to go home, you and
others of the leading men of your race, instead of encouraging
them to bully white people, you can save many lives. Colonel
Moss is the gentleman to go to. But you'll need a pass," tearing
a leaf from the notebook and handing it to Dr. Le Grand; "and I
doubt if that will take you through the lines. You will doubtless
find the colonel somewhere in the down-town section, of the citv.
Stand aside, men, and let him pass." Dr. Le Grand took tlie
THE MASSACRE. 89
slip of paper and started for the section of the city indicated, but
the way was so choked with men and boys, who challenged and
parleyed with him in spite of the permit he carried, that progress
was slow. Men whom he had met in his common every-day life
in Wilmington, men who had been cordial and gentlemanly in
their greetings, now either hurled bitter epithets at him, or
passed him with averted eyes. Several times during that morn-
ing were guns pointed into his face as he paused here and there
to stop collisions that were constantly occurring between white
and black men, fatal in every instance to the blacks, who, without
arms, were no match for the well-equipped whites, who took ad-
vantage of their helplessness to bully them. The most thrilling
scene witnessed was that which made the minister's heart faint,
although the incident excited the admiration of all who beheld it.
Above the oaths of excited men and' boys was heard a wild cheer
a few blocks away, followed by the defiant cry of a negro boy,
who came panting up the street, unmindful of the cry of "halt"
that issued from many lips. Frantically waving a huge revolver
in his hand, he fell upon his face within a few yards of where the
minister stood, pierced by a rifle ball. Turning over slowly upon
his back, he leveled his pistol and fired into the crowd of men
closing in on him, shattering the arm of a Georgia bandit. "He
is dying!" exclaimed the minister, with uplifted hand to prevent
the men from doing further violence to the dying lad, whose life-
blood was making crimson the sand where he lay. One man in
the crowd stooped and picked up the pistol that had fallen from
the lad's grasp. He raised it up before the crowd and said:
"Let him die in peace, boys; I admire a brave heart, if it is under
a black skin." The crowd dispersed. The minister got down
upon his knees and raised the lad's head into his arms. He
opened his eyes and fixed them upon the face of the man of God.
who had begun to stroke his forehead with his hand. "God be
merciful to thee, my son," said the minister tenderly. "Dat's all
right, parson," returned the lad faintly, with a smile upon his
ebony face. "I tol' um I'd die foe I'd giv' up ma gun, an' I tink
dat when I tun ober dat time I got one er dem."
"What is your name, my son?" asked Dr. Le Grand, eagerly.
There was no answer; the boy was gone into undying life. The
minister gently laid the little hero back upon the ground to await
the arrival of the undertaker's wagon, and went on his way. This
incident somewhat awed the bandits, some of whom stood off
some little distance and watched him through the scene; and
90 THE MASSACRE.
his progress was attended with but little further difficulty. When
he reached Front Street, however, the Record Office on Dry
Pond had been burned, and the futile attempt to murder the
workmen at the cotton press had been made. Several black men
had been killed during the morning, and their bodies left where
they had been shot down. At the corner of Front and Chestnut
Streets three men passed him under guard, walking rapidly to-
ward the depot, and whom he recognized as prominent citizens —
one a grocery man another quite an extensive real estate cnvnor
and money lender, while the third, a white man, had been a mag-
istrate in the city for quite a number of years. These men were
being escorted to the trains by soldiers, who had considerable
trouble in keeping a mob of men and boys from doing them vio-
lence. "Well, what are you standing up here for?" asked a man,
turning aside from the throng that surrounded the fugitives, and
akimbo wed in front of the minister. "No niggers are allowed to
loiter; white men are in charge of affairs from now on." "I have
a pass that permits me to interview the Colonel," answered Dr.
Le Grand, holding up the paper before the man's eyes. The
man took the paper and read it slowly. "Come," said he in a
gentler tone of voice, "I'll take you through to the Colonel, for
you can't go by yourself." Across the street, and in the direction
jof the cotton press they proceeded. At the corner of Mulberry
t Street they met Colonel Moss going southward, with! a crowd of
soldiers and citizens about him. He scowled at the minister,
his face flushed with anger as the minister saluted. "What do
you want?" he roared. "That's the question I have come to ask
you," returned the minister. "What do you wish us to do? We
are willing to do anything to stop this carnage." "We want noth-
ing! We are masters of the situation," answered the Colonel
hotly. But the minister persisted. "Hear me, Colonel. This is
indeed a one-sided fight. Our men are unarmed, and are the
chief sufferers in this affair." "It's your own fault," roared Col-
onel Moss. "We gave you colored leaders time to comply with
our request to burn the negro's printing outfit. We waited
twelve hours for your reply, and it came not. so we took the mat-
ter into our own hands. We propose to scourge this black pest
out of Wilmington. If you can induce them to go to their homes
and recognize the authority of the white people, you can prevent
further bloodshed." "I will do my best," replied the minister.
Dr. Le Grand was placed in a buggy, between two whites, to
protect him against violence. This man of God finished that day,
THE MASSACRE. 91
and the other days of terror to the unfortunate negroes, in induc-
ing rebellious black citizens throughout the city to submit to
overwhelming odds against them, and staking his own life upon
the good character of this or that man or woman in danger of be-
ing killed for some trivial charge made by a white person, whether
remote or recent.
MRS. ADELAIDE PETERSON'S NARRATIVE.
Mrs. Adelaide Peterson's Narrative.
New Bedford, Mass., Dec. 19, 1899.
Dear Jack Thorne :
In compliance with your request for a narrative of what I wit-
nessed of the massacre which took place in Wilmington, N. C,
in November, 1898, I herewith write for the information of the
world what happened in the section of the city known as Dry
Pond. The plans for the slaughter of November 10th had been
carefully laid. The negroes, lulled into a feeling of security by the
usual yet unexpected quiet election, were utterly surprised on
the morning of the 10th to find the streets choked with armed
men and boys. The mob, it seems, formed at the Court House,
and dividing itself into bands scattered into every direction, hold-
ing up and searching both black men and women, beating and
shooting those who showed a disposition to resist. On the cor-
ner of Seventh and Nun Streets stands Gregory Normal Insti-
tute for colored youth, with Christ Church (Congregational) and
the teachers' home, comprising the most beautiful group of
buildings in the city. This is the property of the American Mis-
sionary Association. The morning devotions had just ended in
this school on the morning of the 10th, and scholars were going
to the different class-rooms, when the report of a gun threw the
entire school and neighborhood into confusion. Children ran
to their teachers for safety, who, with blanched faces, stood dumb
with terror, for a mob of armed whites had already surrounded
the buildings and completely blocked Seventh, Ann and Nun
streets. On Seventh street, between Nun and Church streets, in
a small wooden structure, the much talked of Wilmington Record
had found a temporary home, and this was the objective point
of the mob. Surrounding this building, they battered down the
door, broke in pieces the printing outfit, and then set fire to the
building. Many women, with their little ones, took to the woods,
MRS. ADELAIDE PETERSON'S NARRATIVE. 93
so thoroughly frightened were they at this strange and unlooked-
for spectacle. Black men were awed into helplessness by the
superiorly armed mob. I was at the ironing table, when one of
my little ones ran in and told me that the school house was on
fire. I hurried out to join the crowd of anxious mothers, who
were hurrying in that direction to rescue their children, whom,
they supposed, were in danger. But we were not able to get past
the crowd of men who surrounded the Record building. The
cries of the frightened children could be heard, and the inability
of the mothers to reach them added to the horror of the scene.
One mother, frenzied with grief and desperation, pushed and
shoved her way through, despite the threats of the mob. One
little girl died of sheer fright. The shooting without, mingled
with the oaths of the men and the frantic wails of the women
without were too much for the little one to bear. Her teacher's
assurance of safety were of no avail. The teachers finally made
a bold front, pushed their way through the crowd and delivered
the frightened children to their frightened parents, some of whom
did not return to their homes, but hastened to the woods for
i-.afety. I returned home. My husband, who worked at the
Press did not arrive until late that night, he having had serious
difficulty in passing the armed whites who lined the streets, and
challenged him at every corner. He informed me that Colonel
Moss, on leaving Dr. Pond, went immediately to the Press with
the intention of killing all the men at work there, but was thwart-
ed by the coolness of Mr. and Molly Pierrepont, who went
from her home to warn them. I bless that woman for her cour-
age. She stood like a goddess among those men and prevented
them from rushing into a trap prepared for them. My husband
at first thought it -unsafe to remain in the house that night; the
poor whites were heavily armed and were likely to do most any-
thing. They had already fired into several houses in the neigh-
borhood. Some one rapped at the door. I was too frightened
to move. My husband finally opened the door, and in staggered
Joe Bently. bleeding profusely from a large gash in his forehead.
He said: "I was trying to reach the hill this evening without be-
ing searched, as I did not want to part with my gun. At the
corner of Market and Front streets I met Mr. Philip Hines, who
offered to take me through the crowd to safety, and led me right
into trouble. I was held up and searched. Ben Turpin took my
revolver from me and gave me this gash on my forehead with
the butt of it." I bathed and bound up Bently's wound, and he
94 MRS. ADELAIDE Pii'l'KRSON'S NARRATIVE.
lay himself upon the lounge in my dining-room, and being weak
from the loss of blood, soon dropped off to sleep. We were too
frightened to lie down. Thirty minutes elapsed. We heard the
sound of footsteps approaching; the door received a vigorous
kick. "Hello!" came from without. "Say Peterson! Don't be
afraid; this is McGinn!" My husband opened the door. "Is that
you, Mr. Mac?" said he. "Yes, we are looking for that feller
Manly." "I guess he's far away," returned my husband. "Well,
its good for him that he is. Who's in there with you?" "My
family." "Well, I believe you, Peterson. Good night." The
men went their way. We were molested no more during the
night, but shooting wag kept up at intervals in the neighborhood
all night. Some citizens slept under their houses for safety.
The morning of the nth of November dawned clear and cold,
and the' sufferings of those who were compelled to sleep in the
open air were terrible. At about nine o'clock Rev. Simons called
at my house. He had his wagon laden with comfortables for the
suffering ones. "Hundreds are in the woods," he said after greet-
ing me, "and God only knows what their sufferings were during
"People of the Saxon race, whom we have trusted so implic-
itly, this is your work, for which you must answer to God," and
with his hand he 'brushed away a tear. Together we rode to the
woods, my husband remaining home with the children. Far
beyond "Jump and Run" we came upon quite a crowd of women
and children, who had built a large fire, and were huddled about
it. One woman, a tall creature, ran to meet us as we approached
with outstretched hands and a maniacal stare in her eyes.
"Where's my husband?" she shrieked. "Is it true he is killed?
An' are you comin' to kill me?" "No, my dear," answered the
minister, "we come to bring you comfort." "No! no! no!" she
cried. "Tell me no more about God. Hagar's children have no
God. They arc forsaken! Lost! lost! lost!" Several women
came up and took hold of the demented creature and led her
away. "She's los' her mind," said one. "She sat here las' night
an' saw her dear friend an' neighbor die in the agony of child-
birth; and that, with the news of her husband's death has unbal-
anced her mind." "There lays the woman," said another, taking
the minister by the hand and leading him to where — cold and
lifeless — the body of the woman with that of the new-born babe
by its side. The poor, demented creature had taken a seat upon
a stump beside the corpse, and was moaning and wringing her
MRS. ADELAIDE PETERSON'S NARRATIVE. 95
hands. "Lord, be merciful!" exclaimed the minister, with clasp-
ed hands. "They are all about here," said another woman; "these
are not all that have died during the night." We busied our-
selves in giving such comfort as lay in our power. In our search
among the bushes we came across several dead and others dying
from the night's exposure. So thoroughly frightened were these
people that we could not induce them to believe it safe to venture
back to their own homes. The situation was indeed appalling.
On our way into the city we met some humane whites going out
to persuade the frightened refugees back.
The ioth day of November, 1898, can never be forgotten. I
will not close this narrative without mentioning an act of bravery
performed by a lone woman which stopped the vulgar and inhu-
man searching of women in our section of the city. The most
atrocious and unpardonable act of the mob was the wanton dis-
regard for womanhood. Lizzie Smith was the first woman to
make a firm and stubborn stand against the proceeding in the
southern section. It was near the noon hour when Lizzie, home-
ward bound, reached the corner of Orange and Third streets. A
block away she saw a woman struggling to free herself from the
grasp of several men who were, in turn, slapping her face and
otherwise abusing her. The woman fought until her clothes were
torn to shreds; then with a shove the men allowed her to proceed
on her way. Lizzie could have saved herself by running away,
but anger at such cowardice had chased away every vestige of
fear. She leisurely walked up to where the fight was going on.
"Halt," said one of the ruffians to Lizzie, "an' let's see how many
razors you got under them duds. That tother wench was er
walkin' arsennel. Come now!" roared the man, "none er your
cussed impert'nence." Lizzie, instead of assaying to comply,
akimbowed and looked defiantly at the crowd about her. "Oh,
yo' po' white trash." "Shut up or we'll settle you an' have done
with it," said the leader, making a motion toward his hip pocket.
"Yo' will, eh!" answered the girl, "yo 1 kan't skeer me. But ef
yo' wanter search me I'll take off ma clothes, so yo' won't have
ter tear 'em," and Lizzie began to hurriedly unfasten her bodice.
"Yo've got ter search me right," she continued, throwing off
piece after piece; "yo'll fin' I am jes' like yo' sisters an' mammies,
yo' po' tackies." "That'll do," growled one of the men, as Lizzie
was unbuttoning the last piece. "Oh, no,' returned the girl, "I'm
goin' ter git naked; yer got ter see that I'm er woman." White
women were looking on from their windows at this sight so
9(i MRS. ADELAIDE PETERSON'S NARRATIVE.
shocking. One had the courage to shout "Shame! how dare you
expose that woman in that manner?" "Them's the curnel's or-
ders,' replied the leader, raising his hat. "Who is the Colonel,
and what right has he to give such orders?" shrieked the woman.
"You ought to' be ashamed of yourselves for your own wives and
daughters' sakes." The men skulked away and left Lizzie victor
on the field. Yours for justice and right,
THE FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK. 97
The Flight of Reverend Selkirk.
There is a great deal said about the fatality of the wind of Bos-
ton Bay. Even the native Bostonian dreads its icy touch, and
when winter comes to re-enforce its intensity, as many as can,
seek warmer climes. A few winters ago. among the many tourists
who sought accommodations on a train South-bound were Rev.
Hiland Silkirk, wife and twc children. Rev. Silkirk's many
years of ministerial work in the old cradle of liberty had some-
what told upon his health, and he felt that a few months or years
in a warmer clime would result in the recovery of lost vigor.
He had purchased a ticket for Wilmington; X. C. The air there
was mild, bracing and dry and made health giving and mellow
by the sweet odor of the yellow pine. And then, again, a field
was open for the continuance of his work while he recuperated.
a certain Baptist church in the old city had called him to its pas-
torate. Being a man of exceptional ability, affable and of sunny
temperament, Rev. Hiland Silkirk was just the man to win friends
among Southern people, and he won them among both white and
black citizens in that old town. This is the case in every South-
ern community. A Negro man of prominence can retain his pop-
ularity on certain lines among the whites if he keeps out of poli-
tics and in all race troubles remains neutral. But he cannot take
this stand and be universally loved. His reward will inevitably
be the contempt of his own race, which he cannot afford to en-
gender. And no man who loves his people can hide his light
under a bushel; can keep quiet when they are assailed. He must,
he will raise hand and voice in their defense. Moses refused to
dwell in the king's palace while his people suffered about him.
No! he went forth, and in his zeal smote an uncircumcised Egyp-
tian oppressor to death and fled into a strange land and there
fitted himself for their deliverer. Rev. Hiland Silkirk counted
his friends among some leading ministers and laymen of the oppo-
9S THR FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK.
site race. Hut Rev. Silkirk was true to his own, and when the
time came to test that devotion, he arrayed himself with his own
people and endangered his own life. When, in the early part of
August, 1898, the fight between the editor of the Record and the
editor of the Messenger waxed hot over the inflammatory letters
on the race question from the pen of Mrs. Fells, of Georgia, which
had its final result in the destruction of the Record's property
and the banishment of its editor, Rev. Silkirk did not hesitate to
join in the controversy. This caused many of his white friends to
cool towards him, and it placed his name upon the list of danger-
ous (?) Negroes to be killed or banished. After the general raid
which terrorized and put the city in a state of panic on the 10th of
November, the mobs divided into squads, and, as deputy sheriffs,
begun to arrest and drive from the city the objects of their spleen.
The duly elected Mayor and other officials having been deposed,
bandits were put in their places. *A portion of the mob which
destroyed the Record building on the morning of the 10th, start-
ed northward toward Walnut street, on which the hated Negro
minister resided. But among the white ministers in Wilmington
there was one at least who would not allow his prejudice to im-
pair his devotion to a worthy friend. He, aware of the plot to
murder the black divine, set out on that morning to warn him of
his clanger. The Rev. Silkirk, aroused and alarmed by the noise
of guns coming from every direction in the city, had just mount-
ed his bicycle and started in the direction of Dry Pond. As he
turned into Seventh street he saw, more than two blocks away,
another bicyclist breathlessly pedaling toward him. "Why. Dr.
Sawyer, I was- just starting to your house!" said the colored man,
as the white one rode up and dismounted. "And I was just com-
ing to your house to inform you that a ride in my direction is dan-
gerous! Return! There is no time to be lost. Get into the
woods! They are on the way to your house now to kill vou. I
must not be seen with you. Go! Make haste!" This was all
said in one breath, and before the colored man could recover from
his astonishment to ask a question the white one was gone.
Down the street a cloud of dust rose before the colored minister's
eyes. The bandits were only a few blocks away. There was not
even time to return to his home. He hastened down Walnut
street, crossed Red Cross into Campbell, and made for the woods.
The bandits rode up to the minister's house, dismounted and sur-
rounded it, but the quarry was gone. From the frightened wife
and little ones they could glean no information as to the where
THE FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK. 90
abouts of the minister. They were about to satisfy their ven-
geance by subjecting the helpless woman to revolting indignities,
when a boy ran up to inform them of the direction in which the
man had fled. The mob mounted their horses and made a dash
for Oak Dale Cemetery. The colored people in the neighbor-
hood, afraid to approach to offer protection to poor .Mrs. Silkirk,
now gathered about her. All were unanimous in the belief that
the bandits would return should they fail to find the minister,
and not only molest her, but shoot into the houses of others as
well. So they decided to take her to the church, yea, gather the
whole neighborhood in there. "Sho, dey won't shoot in de house
er God," said an old lady. "Le' -us git dar an' pray; we kin do
nuth'n better. Le' us ask.de Lawd wot it all means?"
When Rev. Silkirk reached a secluded spot in the woods he was
wet. sore and exhausted from wading through marshes and being
scratched by briars. Night had set in. He lay down beneath a
clump of bushes to rest; but there was no rest for this poor inno-
cent wretch, outlawed by ruffians and compelled to leave his wife
and little ones, and be hunted as a wild beast in the forest. This
is the fate of many a Negro \\ ho had committed no more offense
against law and order. Hut this, to such characters as Rev. Sil-
kirk, was no evidence of God's displeasure. Men more righteous
than he had been compelled to flee for their lives; yea, suffer death
for truth's sake; men of whom the world was not worthy. He
pillowed his head upon a tuft of wire grass, and gazed upward
towards the spangled skies. "Lord, we cannot tell why this, thy
people, are so- severely tried ; yet we believe that all things work-
together for good to them that trust in Thee. Strengthen our
faith, Lord. Save our wives and little ones from a fate worse
than death at the hands of the wicked, who glory and take delight
in shameful treatment of the defenseless." He heard the tramping
of horses' feet among the bushes only a short distance away, and
soon several men galloped past where he lay — so close that one
of the horses brushed against the bush which sheltered him. The
frightened minister lay perfectly still until the footsteps died away,
then he arose and went cautiously back to the city to see. if pos-
sible, what had been the fate of his wife and children, left to the
mercy of a disappointed and angry mob.
The feeling that the church was the only place for safety filled
the breasts of most of the frightened souls in the neighborhood
of Seventh and Red Cross streets on the evening of the dreadful
joth of November, after the band of Red Shirts had terrorized the
100 THE FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK.
people in their blusterous hunt for the negro minister. "It seem-
ed like the day of Judgment," said an eye witness. There were
no loud lamentations, as is usual when colored people are wrought
up under excitement, but sobs, groans and whispered petitions.
Bless our pastor, Lord, an' save him ef it be Thy will," came from
many lips, followed by "Amens" and "Do, Lord." Suddenly the
church was thrown into a spasm 1 of excitement that could not be
suppressed, for while they were breathing prayers for his deliver-
ance, the pastor, wet, footsore and tired, entered and strode slowly
up the aisle. "Why did you, oh, why did you come back?" ex-
claimed his wife, throwing her arms about the minister's neck,
while others in their excitement gathered about them. The Rev.
Silkirk gently led his wife, who had almost fainted in his arms, to
a chair and raised his hand for silence* "Brethren and sisters,"
he began, "my escape from death to-day has been a narrow one.
1 knew that my attitude in the Manly-Fells controversy had caus-
ed some of my friends to cool toward me, but I did not believe
that it would ripen into a desire to murder me, because of my
opinions. Nevertheless, my attitude is the same. I do not re-
tract a single word said in defense of my people. Twenty or more
men were killed to-day — men who are innocent of any wrong.
I may be numbered with them before morning; yet love for my
wife and little ones and you caused me to tempt death by return-
ing here to console and speak a word of comfort to you. These
may be evidences of God's displeasure; we may have in our pros-
perity forgotten to give Him the glory due unto His name; yet
by these afflictions we may know that we are beloved of God. for
whom he loveth He chasteneth. We are too well schooled in
affliction to be dismayed, and they who are responsible for this
rioting may just as well try to stop the river in its flow as to try
to triumph permanently over a people who by affliction have
waxed so strong in faith. We are as firm as Mount Zion, which
cannot be moved. You, all of you, deem it expedient that I go
away; so to-night, by the help of the Lord. I shall try to get away
from this place. I may see you again, I cannot tell; if not, there
are twelve gates to the City, and, with God's help, we'll meet up
there. Let us have a few moments of silent prayer." Every knee
was bended on that terrible night; but so emotional is the colored
American that silence in a meeting of this kind is maintained
with difficulty. A silence of two minutes elapsed — followed by
sobs and groans painful to listen to. Then a voice tremulous with
emotion floated over the assemblage — a woman's voice:
THE FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK. 101
"Father in heaven, we have evidence that thou didst hear thy
children's cry in days past and gone, and we believe that Thou
wilt hear us now. (Yes, Lord.) Thou didst hear the Hebrew
children. (Yes.) Thou didst deliver Daniel. (Yes.) Thou didst
hear Africa's groans, and didst break her chains. (Yes,
Lord.) Oh Jesus, Master, hear us to-night. (Do, Jesus.) We
cannot tell, Lord, why we are buffeted, beaten, murdered and
driven from our homes, and made to seek refuge among strang-
ers; but Thou knowest. Perhaps in our prosperity we have for-
gotten to give Thee the glory, blessed Lord, and these demons
that have flocked to Wilmington from all quarters may be the
scourgers that Thou art using to bring us closer to Thee. Hear,
O Lord, the groans and cries of the widows and orphans of the
slaughtered ones; men who gave up their lives in the feeble efforts
to defend their homes and firesides. (Do, Lord.) Bless Brother
Silkirk and his little family (Amen), who are about to start upon a
perilous journey. The way is beset by demons thirsting for his
blood. (Lord, help.) But he's in Thy hands, and Thou canst
save him and save us from further persecution, if it be Thy will.
Rev. Silkirk was visibly moved by this earnest and pathetic
plea. He thanked the petitioner and the entire church for their
solicitude. He was 'dissuaded from attempting to take his wife
and little ones with him on his perilous journey, and they were
left in care of friends until an opportune season presented itself.
The parting between that good man and his wife and friends was
indeed touching. A substantial bank note was hurriedly thrust
into his hand, and, with two deacons, he stepped out into the
darkness and disappeared.
When the North-bound passenger train leaving Wilmington
at 12. 01 slowed up at Castle Hayne on the morning of the 12th
of November a wretched-looking Negro minister stepped aboard.
The trains had for two days been leaving the city ladened with
undesirable citizens, white and black, and the trainmen had been
earnest abettors in the injury and insult offered them. From Wil-
mington to Weldon at every stop crowds waited to do injury, if
possible, to "Nigger" and radical refugees. Thomas Miller, Aria
Bryant and other citizens had been taken off and jailed at Golds-
bor-o, and one man in trying to escape was shot to death.
The Rev. Silkirk did not feel very comfortable under the search-
ing eye of the conductor who lifted his fare, and that individual's
102 THE FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK.
refusal to give satisfactory answers to inquiries concerning con-
nections at Rocky Mount increased his feeling of uneasiness. He
felt assured that failing to capture him in the woods, his would-be
murderers had telegraphed his description, etc., along the road.
At Dudley Station two men came into the smoker and took seats
immediately in front of him, and continued the discussion of the
topic which doubtless absorbed their minds before entering.
I was saying," said one, an elderly man, with quite a refined ap-
pearance, "that impertinent article by that Negro preacher was
equally as spicy as the editorial, and as the editor took time by
the forelock and made good his escape, the determination was to
make sure of this preacher. But he was warned in time to get
out, and the impression is that he was warned by a white man."
"Shame," said the other, slapping his knee vigorously. "He got
away, then." "Yes, but it's likely he'll sneak back before taking
final leave, as he has a family there, and they are on the lookout
for him; besides, the boys have been notified along the road to
be on the lookout." "What's his name?" "Silkirk; he is er Bos-
ton darkey, an' doubtless is heading for that place, as Southern
climate has got too hot for "im."
"Goldsboro! Change cars for Newbern," shouted the porter.
"Well, good-bye!" said the genteel man, rising and making a bolt
for the door. As the train slowly clanged its way through the
old town the remaining passenger settled himself back in the seat
and went to sleep.
Several men passed through the train, the conductor in the
lead. Each man slyly glanced at the minister, but said nothing.
The train sped on its way through the town.
Now, Wilson is the place where through passengers change
cars and board North-bound trains from the far South. Wilson
for the past few days had been the rendezvous for a well-organ-
ized vigilance committee, who had vied with the ruffians at Golds-
boro in offering violence to citizens driven out of Wilmington.
The leader of this gang was a young farmer by the name of Bull.
That afternoon Mr. Bull and quite a number of his fellow-com-
mitteemen sat on the steps of the railroad station whittling sticks
when the station operator came up and handed him a telegram,
Which ran as follows: "Goldsboro — Man on train 78 answering
description of Silkirk. Look out for him. Barnet."
"By Joe!" exclaimed Captain Bull, jumping to his feet. "Well,
what's up?" asked three or four of his companions, gathering
around the leader. "Nothing, only that Boston black Yankee is
THE FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK. 103
on train 78, an' he mustn't git any further 'an Wilson, that's all,"
returned Bull. "Go, Buxton," he said to a sallow-faced young
man leaning against the wall, "an' tell the boys ter git ready for
er feast ter night. That Nigger editor slipped through" like
grease, an' ef we let this Nigger do so we all uns ought ter be
gibbited. We want er be ready ter mount the train time she
stops. I've got no description of the man, but, then, its no hard
tas' to pick out er preacher from the tother uns." With that Cap-
tain Bull started toward home to get his gun, and the crowd dis-
At Wilson trains usually pause at the water tank, a few yards
below, for coal and water, before making the final stop at the
station. Just as train 78 paused at this place, a colored man with
a buggy whip under his arm got aboard. He walked briskly
through the train, scanning the faces of the passengers as he-
went. "The' ain't but one colored man on here," he said, as he
reached the door of the smoking car and looked in. Walking up
and touching this man on the shoulder, he said: "Looker here,
mister, you goin' North: 1 " "I want to," returned the colored pas-
senger. "Well, come with me an' get somethin' ter eat foe you
go; you look like you hungry. I keep er resterant, put up thar
jes' fer my people, bekase thar's no show fer 'em in the other
place. Come on! No time ter be los', train don't stay up thar
more 'an twenty minutes." With that he led the passenger from
the train. "Git up in thar," he said, pointing to a small wagon.
"Got er trunk?" "No, just this bag," returned the other. "Well,
let's go. Git up, Nell," and the horse started off in a brisk trot.
"Looker here, mister, I ain't got no more resterant then er
dog. Ain't your name Silkirk?" "That's may name," returned
the passenger in astonishment. "I knowed it," said the driver. "I
got on that train ter save yer life ter night. Slower dar, Nell!
This road's full er mud holes sence the big rain we had tother
day. I jes' happen ter that depot ter day jes' in time ter see thet
telegraph when hit cum an' was put inter Captain Bull's han".
Sence dem riots in Wilmin'ton he's bin er getin' telegraphs an"
sarchin' trains, an' insultin' women an' killin' col'd mens. An' I
jes' slied erroun' tell I hear what that telegraph say. Hit say,
look out fer Silkirk. Thar's er gang of crackers waitin' ter kill
you as sho es yo' er bo'n; but Bob Jones is goin' ter cheat um dis
time. Go on thar!" "God moves in a mysterious way," mur-
mured the minister, slowly." "You'll bet he does. Come, gal,
pick um up an' put um down; thar's no time ter be los'. Gwine
104 THE FLIGHT OF REV. SELKIRK.
ter take yer cross de country here, an' put yer on er frate train,
an' dat train gwine take yer to Norfolk, for yo' sholy ain't safe
on dat coas' line road. Dis is what we call throwin' de houn's off
de scent. Pure Nigger cunnin', here me? Git up, Nell."
It was near the midnight hour when the horse, panting for
breath, paused at a lonely rickety old station. The men alighted.
"Hit's jes' twenty minutes pas' eleven," said Bob Jones glancing
at his watch,. "Now that train's comin' long here in er few min-
utes. Jes' git er board an' treat de Cap'n right, an' he'll put yer
through." "God bless you and all of yours," said the minister,
gratefully. "My people in Wilmington and Boston must know of
you and what you have done for me to-night." "Dat's all right,
parson, keep de change. Ise jes' doin' my duty, that's all. We
should feel each other's keer, an' bear each other's cross, says de
good word. Dar's de train now!" The old freight train panted
slowly up and stopped to> look for freight. The Rev. Hiland Sil-
kirk, with tears of gratitude in his eyes, got aboard, and the tri-
umphant Jehu turned his horse and started homeward.
"Well done, good and faithful servant, forasmuch as you have
done good unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have
done it unto me."
CAPTAIN NICHOLAS McDUFFY. 105
Captain Nicholas McDuffy.
Before the introduction of the improved method of fire fighting
in Southern cities — before the steam engine, the hook and ladder
and water tower companies supplanted the old hand pump and
bucket companies, the Negro was the chief fire fighter, and there
was nothing that tended more to make fire fighting a pleasant
pastime than those old volunteer organizations. For man}- years
after the war Wilmington was supplied with water for the putting
out of fires b}-' means of cisterns which were built in the centre
of streets. When the old bell in the market house tower sounded
the alarm of fire, the volunteers left their work and hastened to
headquarters to drag forth the old hand pump and make for the
cistern nearest the scene of the fire, where, keeping time to the
tune of some lively song, they pumped the fire out. There was
peculiar sweetness in those old songs which made fire fighting a
fascinating pastime in those old days. While a few men span-
ncred the hose, directed the stream and did the work of rescuing
and saving furniture, etc., the majority were required to man the
pumps. Thirty or forty men in brilliant uniform lined up on
either side of the huge engine, tugging away at the great horizon-
tal handles, presented a spectacle which no one even in these days
of advancement would despise. And the singing!
"O Lindy, Lindy my dear honey,
Lindy, gal, I'm boun' to go;
O Lindy, Lindy my dear honey,
O Lindy, gal, I'm boun' to go," etc.
A few lines of another:
''The cows in de ole field, don't yo' hear de bell?
Let her go, let her go.
The cows in de ole field, don't yo' hear de bell?
Let her go, let her go," etc.
10(i CAPTAIN NICHOLAS McDUFFY.
But the things that will make those old organizations live long-
est in the memory are their frolics, excursions and picnics, full of
all that appealed to the appetite for pleasure and excitement.
There the dancer, the fighter, the runner, the wrestler, could in-
dulge freely in his favorite pastime; there old scores could be set-
tled and new ones made. The most noteworthy and serviceable
of those old volunteer organizations was the old "Brooklyn No.
4," which guarded that portion of the city known by that name.
No. 2, in the middle section, and the "Old No. 3 Double Deck,"
in the southern part of the city. These old-fashioned machines
have given place to the modern fire fighter, the steam engine.
But of all of these banished organizations, No. 3 will be the long-
est remembered. Upon her roll were the names of some of Wil-
mington's best citizens. In the year 1873 this company, too ser-
viceable to be disbanded, was reorganized under the name of
"Cape Fear Engine Company," and presented by the city with a
handsome steam engine of that name. And although the Ger-
mans had replaced their hand pump by costly steamer, and a
company had been organized among the aristocracy, this colored
company kept and maintained the reputation of being the best
fire fighters in the city, and second to none in the entire State.
Upon the walls of their engine house hung trophies for superior
firemanship won in nearly every city in the State. The insurance
companies of the city recognized their value as savers of property,
and upon, more than one occasion made them valuable presents.
Only men of good repute who could "stand the gaze of an honest
eye" were eligible to membership in the Cape Fear Fire Com-
pany, and he who aspired to leadership must be efficient both in
character and experience as a fire fighter. I write the above that
the reader may know what manner of man this was who was
compelled to leave his home, his wife and little ones and flee for
his life. Captain Nicholas McDuffy was at one time foreman
of the Cape Fear Engine Company. McDuffy came to Wilming-
ton a rough country lad, secured employment, went to work,
saved his money, bought property and became a citizen of note
and respectability. He joined the engine company and rose like a
meteor to its foremost rank. The relations between the races in
the South have always been such" that it requires a Negro of
Spartan courage to face a white man and return blow for blow, it
matters not how righteous may be his cause. Captain Nicholas
McDuffy was a man without fear. Two or three years ago, while
a member of the police force of Wilmington, it became his duty
captain Nicholas mcduffy. io7
to arrest some white roughs for disorderly conduct. It was a
hazardous undertaking-, but McDuffy waded in and landed his
men, but it cost him dear. His body was so hacked by knife
thrusts that he was compelled to go to the hospital for repairs.
Generally policemen are commended and rewarded for such
heroic deeds, but this placed the name of Nicholas McDuffy upon
the death list. A Xegro officer must not presume to arrest a
white man. There were, however, white men who admired Mc-
Duffy for his frankness and courage, and when the riotous ex-
citement was at its height and the assassins were seeking here
and there for victims, one of these true men warned McDuffy
just in time to get into the swamp before a mob surrounded his
house. They pursued him, however, but by swimming a creek
not far from the city's limit he escaped their bullets, and without
coat or hat made his way to New Berne. His poor wife and chil-
dren were left to the mercy of the mob, who drove them forth
and burned the house behind them.
TEMPTING NEGROES TO RETURN.
Tempting Negroes to Return.
Wilmington Officials Scouring the Woods for Refugees — Want
Them to Return and Go to Work.
Special to The World.
Wilmington, N. C, Nov. 13. — Affairs are settling down to their
normal condition here. Chief of Police Edgar G. Parmle and
several representatives of the new city government drove out
ten miles on the various roads leading from the citv to-day, to
induce the refugee Negroes to come back.
City officials also attended the colored churches and urged
the pastors and their people to go into the woods to induce the
frightened Negroes to return and resume their work.
The pastors of the white churches referred to the not in their
sermons to-day. The 'burden of the discourses was that the strug-
gle at the polls Tuesday was for liberty, decency, honesty and
right; that it was not so much the drawing of the color line as
a contest for the supremacy of intelligence and competence over
ignorance, incompetence and debauchery.
Dr. Hoge, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, who re-
cently preached in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New
York, and was mentioned as Dr. Hall's successor, took as his
text: "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a
"We have done both," he said. "We have taken a city. That
is much, but it is more because it is our own city that we have
Dr. Hoge justified the movement which led to the change of
AT MRS. MclvANE'S. 109
At Mrs. Mcl/atie's.
It was Thanksgiving Day. The political storm increased ten-
fold in velocity and destrnctiveness by race hatred that had swept
through the old city of Wilmington, devastating hom-es, leaving
orphans, widows and ruined fortunes in its wake, was slowly
abating. A city in a state of siege could not have presented a
more distressing appearance. Soldiers and armed white men and
boys stood in groups on every street ready to pounce upon and
disperse any assemblage of black citizens upon the streets. The
ringing of church bells, the call to praise onlv served to intensify
the fear of colored worshippers whose meetings had been pre-
viously broken up by armed mobs. These dusky worshippers,
devout as they were, had not the faith sufficient to enable them
to discern the smiling face of God through the clouds which hung
over them. Demoralized, dejected, disconsolate, they dodged
about here and there like sheep having no shepherd. Just as the
bell in the tall steeple of the old Baptist Church on Market street
was making its last long and measured peals there crept out from
behind the old Marine Hospital a woman leading a little child by
the hand. Both were wretchedly clad. Thrown about the wom-
an's shoulders was an old quilt. Her shoes were tied with strings,
which were wrapped around the soles to keep from leaving her
feet. Her skirt, tattered and torn, hung dejectedly about her
scant form. The child, barefooted and with only one piece to
hide its nakedness, dodged behind its mother as it walked to keep
the wind from striking with its full force its emaciated bodv. The
woman, though young in years, was old and haggard in face.
Her woolly hair, unkempt and sprinkled with gray, the result of
just three weeks of privation, apprehension and dread, bulged out
from beneath the old shawl which covered her head. At the
northwest corner of the hospital fence she paused, looked cheer-
fully toward her own cottage, but a few blocks away, then slowly
110 AT MRS. McLANK S.
walked on in that direction, the child toddling at her side. "What
is the hells ringin' for, mamma?" asked the little one. "It ain't
Sunday." "It's Thanksgiving Day, and. we usually go to church
on that day," answered the mother, slowly. "What is Thanksgiv-
ing Day?" "It is a day set apart by the President for the people
to assemble and give thanks for — for — blessings — received during
the year, my child." This last answer tore that disconsolate
mother's heart till it bled. She had reached the gate of her cot-
tage, from which she had fled on the night of November ioth to
escape insult and murder. A white woman sat upon the steps
knitting, her children playing about the yard. The colored wom-
an stood and momentarily gazed in amazement at the intruder
upon her premises. "Well, whart du you wannt?" said the white
one, looking up from her work and then down again. "What do
I want?" returned the colored one. "That's the question for me
to ask. What are you doing in my house?" "Your house?"
"Yes, my house!" "Niggers don't own houses in dis here town
no mo'; white uns air rulin' now." was the saucy response. "We
uns air in these houses, an' we air goin' ter stay in um. An' mo'n
thct; them's ther Mair's orders." "You poor white trash; I work-
ed hard for this house, and hold the deed for it, so you get out!"
So saying, she caught hold of the latch. The white woman rush-
er! to the corner of the fence and screamed "Police!" at the top
of her voice.
"Well, what's ther mater here?" asked one of the four men
who came running up in response to the woman's call. "This
nigger cuius here ter purt me out er this house." "This is my
house!" broke in the other. "My house," repeated the man, with
a sneer. Pocession is nine-tents er th' law. She's in, you air out,
so git." Several colored people had responded to the call, most
of them women. "Come, Eliza," said one, putting her arms affec-
tionately about the wretched and angry woman's waist, while an-
other took the little one in her arms. "It's no use to waste words;
we all have suffered at the hands of these superior (?) people.
But God will give the wrong-doer his reward in due season.
Come with us, my dear, and wait patiently." All my nice furni-
ture being ruined by this dirty cracker, and I can do nothing to
prevent it," sobbed Eliza, struggling to free herself that she might
fly at the throat of the intruder, who stood glaring at her in tri-
"Take her er long," said the white bully, or T'll lock her up.
The time [er Niggers ter sass white fo'ks is past in Wilmington."
AT MRS. McLANE'S. Ill
"Come, Eliza; that's a good woman." The woman walked re-
ictantlv away, to be cared for by her neighbors.
That evening at about dusk Airs. McLane, an old and wealth}'
white citizen, stood at the window of her palatial dwelling on
Third street watching the twilight fade — watching the Thanks-
giving Day of 1898 slowly die. Mrs. McLane had not attended
church ; she felt more like hiding away from the world to be alone
with God. In her devotions that morning she had cried out with
all the fervency of her soul that God would turn away his anger
from a people with whom He was justly displeased.
"My people are to-day imbued with the feeling of boastfuLiess
in their own strength rather than thankfulness to God. tor can
any of us feel that God has countenanced the murder, pillage and
intimidation which the whites of Wilmington have resorted to?
And for what?" Thus she soliloquized as she watched the day
die. The clock in the old Presbyterian Church slowly chimed
the hour of six. A long jingle of the doorbell awoke Mrs. Mc-
Lane from her reverie. "Mrs. Hill. Mrs. Bruce and Mrs. Engel,
Misses," said a servant, slightly pulling the door ajar and push-
ing her head in. "All right, Margaret. I'll be right down," an-
swered the lady. "Tell Aunt Su.-an that the guests I expected to
tea are here." "Yes m'm." The servant disappeared, and Mrs.
McLane slowly descended to the parlor. "Why, Marjorie!" ex-
claimed Mrs. Bruce, as the hostess glided into the parlor, where
the three women sat chatting. "H*>w could you stay at home
from church on such a lovely day! You missed a treat, you — "
"Tea's ready, missis," said Margaret, appearing suddenly in the
parlor door. "Now, ladies, we must retire to the dining room
and let conversation aid digestion; remember that my tea has
waited until half an hour past the usual time for you. So, without
further delay, let me lead the way to tea," and Mrs. McLane pro-
ceeded to the dining room, followed by her three visitors. "Well,
from Mrs. Bruce's exclamation when I entered a while ago I
must infer that you all enjoyed church service immensely."
"Well, I should say so," promptly answered Mrs. Bruce. "I don't
see how any one could have remained at home on such a day as
this. And. you know, we have so much to be thankful for. Dr.
Tose quoted for his text, 'He that is slow to anger is better than 1/
the mighty, and he that controlleth his spirit than he that taketh
a city. 5 'We have taken a city,' said he, 'our city; freed it from
112 AT MRS. McLANES.
ignorance and misrule.' I, for one, am grateful to see our men
have so nobly shown to the women of Wilmington that they are
worthy of our loyalty and devotion. I said to my husband, after
reading that infamous and slanderous article in the Record, that
our men were too pigeon-livered to take that Nigger out and
give him what he deserves; and I think it was just such talk from
our women in the households that brought about this revolution.
Such as the white people of Wilmington have been compelled to
resort to would never have happened had the good-for-nothing
Yankee left the black where he belonged, instead of wrenching
him from his master and then educating him into the belief that
he is as good as he who owned him. This Manly is a new Nig-
ger — a product of Yankee schools and colleges. Freedom and
education have worked only harm to the Negro by putting high
notions into his head. Blacks of Wilmington have had more sway
than was for their good, and they need checking, and it has come
at last. We will have no more black lawyers, doctors, editors and
so forth, taking the support from our own professional men.
And no more such disgraceful scenes as we have been compelled
to endure — well-dressed Negro women flaunting about our streets
in finery, when they ought to be in their places. Why, we can't
order a gown or bonnet, but what, before we can get into the
street with it on our backs, some Nigger woman flirts by with
the very same thing on, style, material and all. It is preposterous!
How I have burned in desire to jump upon them and tear the
things off and flog them, as they deserve. And to go to Seventh
street on a Sunday or on a week-day, for that matter, the sight
is heart sickening! There Sambo and his woman, dressed to
death, strut along with heads erect, looking as important as
though they owned the city, or, astride their bicycles, they'll ride
plumb over you. But we have put a stop to Nigger high-stepping
for a while at least, thanks to our true and patriotic men, blue-
blooded Southern gentlemen." "And our boys, who did so no-
bly!" chimed in Mrs. Engel. "Yes! yes!" exclaimed Mrs. Bruce,
with a triumphant laugh. "How full of zeal and love for home
and country they are! Tt was indeed charming to see them hold
up big, burly blacks and make them stand until bidden to pass on.
One i-f the most amusing and gratifying sights was the holding
up of a big Nigger woman, right in front of my gate. She reared
and charged, but to no purpose; those boys made her shake her
duds. They pulled her clothes almost off her back trying to make
her >tand until searched." "And you didn't protest against such
AT MRS. McLANE'S. 113
ungallant treatment of a woman, and by mere lads?" asked Mrs.
McLane. "Protest! Why. Marjorie McLane! You must not,
my dear, allow yourself to think of such creatures as women
entitled to such consideration as is due white women. How did
I know but what that creature had set out to burn some lady's
dwelling. Protest? Xo! decidedly no! I just stood there and
enjoyed the fun. I am afraid you are too full of Yankeeism, Mar-
jorie. You should be thankful that our enemies are vanquished.
When Colonel Moss reached Dry Pond, instead of showing fight
and standing by their editor, whom they upheld in slandering
white women, they scampered to the woods." "And the poor
frightened creatures are still there. They cannot be induced to
return, and the suffering among them is intense. Mothers have
given birth out there, and they and their offspring have died from
exposure." "Poor creatures!" exclaimed Mrs. Engel. "God pity
them and us!" continued Mrs. McLane. "If what has been done
in Wilmington within the last few days is the work of gentlemen,
then in the name of God let us have a few men in Wilmington, if
such can be found." "But, my dear — " "Don't interrupt me.
Mrs. Bruce! Hear me through," said Mrs. McLane. raising her
voice. "May the groans of these suffering women and children
ever ring in the ears of Colonels Moss and Wade, and may the
spirits of their murdered victims unrelentingly pursue them
through the regions of hell." "Marjorie McLane!" exclaimed
Mrs. Bruce, in astonishment. "Such langauge from a Southern
ladv!" said Mrs. Hill. ''Yes, a Southern lady clothed in her right
mind," returned the hostess. "These men in their blind zeal to
restore white supremacy, and to defend women, have unmistak-
ably demonstrated their weakness. White supremacy cannot be
maintained bv resorting to brute force, neither can the women
of one race be protected and defended while the defender of vir-
tue looks upon the destruction of the other race as only an indis-
"Thou must be true thyself
If thou the truth wouldst teach.
Thy soul must overflow
If thou another's soul would reach.'
"Enduring supremacy, the supremacy that will be acknowl-
edged is supremacy of character, supremacy of deportment, su-
premacv in justice and fair play. We have irreparably lost our
hold upon the Xegro because we lack these attributes. We must
not allow ourselves to feel that the Xegro in this enlightened age
is incapable of knowing and appreciating true manhood and true
114 AT MRS. McLANE'S.
gallantry. To shoot men after they have been totally disarmed,
and after they have surrendered everything as a peace offering is
cowardice without parallel.
"What would Lee and Jackson have said should their departed
spirits return to gaze upon men who so bravely followed them
through the wilderness, in perilous times, leading in such dastard-
ly work as was done in Wilmington on the ioth of November?
'Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.' It is not in
future fires that men are to get the reward for their doings, but
here in this life. Our fathers have sowed the seeds that are
sprung up now in race troubles and discord. The North was first
to seethe danger, and gave the warning; but we blindly plunged
into four years of bitter strife, to maintain what we thought was
our right. The troubles through which we are passing are the
reaping of the fruits of the sowing of our fathers. The conduct
of our people on the ioth of November shows plainly to my mind
that we are making the same mistakes. We are foolish enough to
sow that which will cause the harvester to curse us in his misery.
Here were boys not over twelve years of age armed and licensed
to insult women, tear their clothes from them and humiliate
them." ''Humiliate them!" echoed Mrs. Bruce, with a sneer, "as
though such creatures could be humiliated. They are entitled to
no respect from white men." "And we should not allow ourselves
to think of them- as women with the same feelings and propensi-
ties that we have," said Mrs. Engel. "I say," continued Mrs. Ale-
Lane, "that the Negro woman should be considered a woman in
the fullest sense of the term, and those men and boys who in their
zeal to protect white women humiliated and disgraced black ones,
insulted and humbled their own mothers, sisters and sweethearts:
for what disgraces one woman disgraces another, be she white,
black, red or brown. We, the white people of the South, have
acknowledged the black woman's right to all the sympathy that
we ourselves may expect. She has carried us in her arms and
suckled us at her breast, and in thousands of instances her word
has been the only law among our children in our nurseries. She
heard and faithfully kept the secrets of our lives. We sought her
advice, and believed in the efficacy of her prayers." "Now, Mar-
jorie, you know," said Mrs. Bruce, "that such Negro women are
still dear to us; these old mammies and uncles who know and
keep in their places are never troubled in the South. The Yankee
did us a great injury by lifting the Negro out of his place, and
making him feel that he is as good as we are. It is this new \ig-
AT MRS. McLANE'S. 115
ger that is causing all the trouble. The black woman, allowed to
dress and flaunt about illures, tempts and often robs our domestic
life of its sweetness, while the black man, with the wrong concep-
tion of freedom, often makes it impossible for our men to leave
their homes unguarded." "Bah! away with such nonsensical
babbling! You are saying, Mrs. Bruce, that which down in your
innermost soul you do not believe. Such talk as that has given
Southern women undesirable notoriety, and is making the world
believe that to keep us pure it costs yearly hundreds of ignomin-
ious human sacrifices, a thing that we should rise up and brand as
a lie! Who is to guard the home of the Negro man? Can we
look around Wilmington and believe that his home does not need
a stronger arsenal than ours? While we are boiling over with
sympathy for Mrs. Hartright, do we think for a moment of the
bumble home of that Negro father made unhappy by Mr. Hart-
riglt? Do we feel pity for Dan Hawes, John Maxim, Charlotte
Jones? The Negro no longer feels that the appearance of a white
illegitimate among his honestly begotten piccaninnies is an honor
bestowed upon his household. Charlotte's case was indeed a sad
one. No one knows better than I what a heavy heart she carried
after her favorite child, the one she had taken such pains to edu-
cate, and from whom she expected so much, fell a victim to the
flatteries of a Jew." "Well, must white women stop to lament
over such things?" asked Mrs. Hill. "Are we to blame for the
shortcomings of these people?" "Yes," answered the hostess.
"We have looked on unmoved and beheld our sister in black shorn
of al! protection by the laws upon the State books of every South-
ern State, that she may be humiliated with impunity, and we have
gloried in her shame.
"Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is no exag-
geration. Simon Legree stalks abroad unrebuked in the South,
and Cassies with sad stories of betrayal and humiliation are plen-
tiful." "I do not think it possible to better the black woman
morally," said Mrs. Hill. "The germs of high and lofty thought
are not in her, that is certain." "Have you ever tried to put that
theory to a test?" asked Mrs. McLane sharply. "I cant say that
I have," returned Mrs. Hill slowly. "If the Negro is morally low,
we are ourselves responsible, and' God will call us to account for
it. In our greed for gain we stifled every good impulse, fos-
tered and encouraged immorality and unholy living among our
slaves by disregarding the sacredness of the marriage relation.
'That which God hath joined together let no man put asunder!'
116 AT MRS. McLANb'S. OO
We have done that. We have made a discord in the sweetest
music that ever thrilled the human heart — the music of love. I
believe that there is that pathos, that true poetry in Negro love-
making that no other race possesses. When a child I used to
love to listen to the simple and yet pathetic pleading of the Negro
boy for the hand of the girl, whom to protect and defend he
owned not himself. My very heart would weep when I pictured
those fond hearts torn asunder by the slave trader. I could see
the boy far away, in some lonely cornfield in Georgia, pause,
lean upon his plow and sigh for his lost love as he listened to the
cooing of the dove, while she, far away in Tennessee or in some
Virginia cornfield mournfully sang as she dropped the yellow
'Ebry time the sun goes down
I hangs ma head an' cries.'
Have we not done enough to a forgiving race? The case of
Richard Holmes is a strong proof of the Negroes' high and lofty
conception of purity and virtue, and had he been a white man,
his actions would have been applauded to the echo. My opin-
ion is that just so long as the safeguards around Negro women
are so weak, so long as the laws upon the statute books of South-
ern States brand her as a harlot, pure or impure, and keep her
outside the pale of pity and consideration, just so long will our
representatives have to resort to miirder and intimidation to get
to Congress. The strength of any race rests in the purity of its
women, and when the womanhood is degraded, the life blood of
a race is sapped. Should we be disappointed under this showing
because the Negro does not vo»e with us? You know as well
as I that the Negro's vote was at the bottom of all this trouble.
And we will always have trouble as long as the destruction of
Negro womanhood is only an indiscretion. Mrs. Fells, of Geor-
gia shows the narrowness of her soul when she cries aloud for
the protection of white women in isolated sections of Georgia
against lustful Negroes, when she knows perfectly well that Negro
girls in Georgia need the same protection against lustful whites.
A woman who is not desirous of protecting the innocent of any
race is insincere, and should be branded as a hypocrite." "Mrs.
Fells should not be blamed for ignoring Negro women. They
are all fallen creatures," said Mrs. Engle. "That's a broad asser-
tion for any woman to make, and there's no white woman that
believes it in her innermost soul." returned Mrs. McLane. "The
best white blood of the South flows through the veins of Negroes,
AT MRS. McLANE'S. 117
and this reveals the unmistakable weakness of a superior race." *
* r "The weakness of the men of a superior race! Be careful
and make that distinction, Marjorie," said Mrs. Bruce. "South-
ern white women are the most virtuous women in the world."
"That's the general boast," returned Airs. McLane. "And a boast
that cannot be gainsaid,*' said Mrs. Hill. "Visiting the iniqui-
ties of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth gen-
eration," quoted Mrs. McLane slowly. "Do you believe in the
truthfulness of God's word?" There was no answer. "You all
are willing to admit that the fathers have eaten sour grapes, that
the sin of unlawful inter-mixture with the alien is the fault of
the men. But can we prove that the taint of lust in the blood of
the fathers has come down through the generations to effect
the male child only, and leave the female uncontaminated? God
has not so ordained it. Our men sin and boast in it. Consort-
ing with the women of the alien race to them is only an indiscre-
tion. While even to acknowledge that in the Negro man are the
elements of genuine manhood would make a Southern white
women a social exile, and make her the butt of ridicule. Does
not this account for the human sacrifices that have shocked the
nation? If the Negro's life is cheap and a frank acknowledge-
ment of preference for him means so much to her, and knowing
that her word is judge and jury, is it not likely that she would
pursue the easiest course? The passing of laws since the war
prohibiting the intermarriage of the races is proof that the men
do not trust us as implicitly as they pretend. The lynchings
and burnings that are daily occurring in the South are intended
as warnings to white women as well as checks to Negro men.
Men who constitute these mobs care no more for virtue than so
many beasts; and saying that they are composed of best citi-
zens does not alter my opinion. Instead of going about as Mrs.
Tells is doing, crying for more of the blood of the black men,
and vilifying defenseless black women as Mrs. Harris, of that
same State is doing, we the Southern white women better be
doing a little missionary work among the men of our own race.
It is time for us to rise up and let our voices be heard against
the making of our protection an excuse for crime. Women
like Mrs. Harris have done nothing, and would do nothing to
better the condition of the woman whom they vilify. Nathan
said unto David: 'Thou art the man.' This poor wretch will
rise up in the judgment and cry aloud against us as her unnatural
sisters who stood upon her and trampled her in the mud and
118 AT MRS. McLANE'S.
mire. As inferior and morally low as we may deem her, it may
be more tolerable for her in the judgment than for us. I won-
der sometimes how the black woman could even look with favor
upon the man who to her has been and is a sneaking coward,
as well as a hypocrite in conduct toward the women of his own
race. To us he abuses the Negro women, makes her the subject
of ridiculous cartoons, shows her up before the world as a beast
with his lips wet with kisses from her mouth, and she suckles at
her breast the child of his begetting." "We can't afford to be
too plain on that subject, Marjorie," interrupted Mrs. Bruce.
"Southern women, not being independent and self-supporting,
like our Northern sisters, cannot afford to call the men to ac-
count, though we, some of us, see the situation just as you have
presented it." "But I for one will speak plainly," said Mrs. Mc-
Lane. "Officer Bunts, instead of being driven from the city
and hung in effigy, should have been treated differently, because
in publicly acknowledging that he preferred a Negro woman
as a companion he showed that he was more of a man than those
who, like the Pharisees, rose up against him. If we as parents
should refuse to give our daughters in marriage to men who
have not clandestinely consorted with women of the alien race,
how many could hold up clean hands?"
She who comes through environments of temptation unpro-
tected from the assaults of the devil to glory and immortality
will have a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory than she
who has been shut in, as it were, by the walls of a nunnery." If
we could have kept the Negro from the Bible, kept the religion
of Jesus Christ out of his heart, the massacre of November ioth
might have the effect that those who planned it desired. But
such demonstrations of barbarism will never be the means of
vanquishing a trusting people. There's my cook, Susan. Her
faith is simply astonishing. That young Negro man who was
shot to death trying to escape from the Naval Reserves who
were taking him from his home and family was her son. When
my son read the news to her, she said no word, there was no sign
of distress in her face, but I could see that her heart was deeply
moved. She arose after a few minutes' silent meditation, then
went on with her work. That evening I stole up to her room
to speak a comforting word to her. I found her reading her
Bible. She took off her glasses and wiped the water from her
eyes as I entered. "I'm jes' layin' hold of God's promises," she
said with a smile. "God is our refuge an' strength in all kinds
AT MRS. McLANE'S. 119
er trouble, Honey." She threw her arms about my neck and
drew me down beside her, and pointing to a verse in the prayer
of Habakkuk said: "Read it loud, Honey. That's whar I stan".
'Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in
the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall
yield no meat.' 'The flock shall be cut off from the fold and there
shall be no herd in the stalls. Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I
will joy in the God of my salvation.' These are her sentiments."
"This demonstrates the strength of her faith. She will not believe
that her child was killed. In some miraculous way he must have
escaped, and will some day come to her. For the faith of the
simple Negro woman I would give a world." It was near the
midnight hour when Mrs. McLane's visitors departed, wiser
>vonien by that Thanksgiving Day visit, we hope.
THE COLONEL'S REPENTANCE.
The Colonel's Repentance.
The riotous excitement was slowly abating in the old city.
The woods were full of panic-stricken, starving colored people,
and trains were leaving the city laden with those who had means
to get away. The leading whites, feeling both alarmed at and
ashamed of the havoc and misery their ambition had wrought,
had begun to send men into the woods to carry food to the
starving, and induce them to return to the city. But so thor-
oughly frightened were these poor refugees that the sight of
white faces made them run away from the very food offered them.
The ambassadors came back to the city disgusted, and dispatched
colored men, who were more successful. It was the evening of
the 15th of November. Mr. Julius Kahn, Eastern North Caro-
lina's representative of the Life Insurance Company of Virginia,
sat at his desk in his office on Front street. This company, which
had been giving, for a small weekly payment, quite a substantial
and satisfactory death benefit, and consequently doing quite an
enormous business among the poorer classes of the colored peo-
ple, were among the heaviest sufferers from the massacre, for
some of the collectors had been pressed into the service of the
rioters to shoot down, and intimidate their very means of
support. As Mr. Kahn sat there, he saw nothing but absolute
ruin staring him in the face. "Well, what news?" he asked a man
who stalked in, and sank heavily into a chair. The man
threw his book upon the desk before him, shrugged his shoul-
ders and sighed wearily. "It's useless,'' he answered finally. "I
give it up. I haven't succeeded in getting within ten yards of a
nigger woman to-day. If I went in at the front door, every oc-
cupant in a house would bolt out at the back one, and run for
dear life. They will listen to no overtures of friendship. Our
very faces fill them with abject terror. We had just as well throw
up the insurance business and quit, as far as Wilmington is con-
cerned. God's curse on the men who arc responsible for this
THfi COLONEL'S REPENTANCE. 121
blight upon the good name of this city. One woman opened her
door, cursed me, threw her book at me, and slammed the door
in my face; and I can't blame her, for she saw and recognized
me among the mob who shot her husband down right in her
gate. And God knows I did not want to be among them, but
was compelled to. And they say that old devil, after usurping
the Mayoralty of the city, and killing and driving from their
homes so many colored people, has softened, and has sent out
to induce the wretches to return," said Mr. Kahn after a long
pause. "Yes," returned the agent, "but that won't help us. They
say they've lost their confidence in white people. Why, you have
no idea what a wretched state of things I've come across. The
last five days' experience has made raving maniacs out of some
of the niggers. The papers have announced the giving out of
rations at the City Hall to-morrow, but I doubt if many will go to
get them." Mr. Kahn leaned over, rested his elbows upon the
desk, and slowly ran his fingers through his hair. "Some of our
men left the city before they would be mixed up in this affair,
and I wish now that I had done the same. But," he continued
slowly, "we may just as well wait until all excitement is at an
end before we pull up stakes. Other blacks will doubtless pour
in to fill the places of those that are going, and we may be en-
abled to build up business." "You can remain and wait, Mr.
Kahn," answered the agent rising. "This accursed town can no
longer hold me. I leave to-night for Richmond, for I can no
longer look into the faces of the people whom I have had a hand
in killing and terrorizing. Good bye, Mr. Kahn," and the col-
lector was gone.
"Everybody git in line an' pass one ba one before ther Mair
an' git yer permits; fer yer can't git rations thoughten 'urn,"
shouted a policeman to a crowd of hungry citizens who stood
upon the steps of the City Hall. "Git in thur ole Aunty an' wait
yer turn!" to an old lady, who started to leisurely clinib the steps.
The Mayor sat at his desk, which had been placed just behind the
railing in the court room, and mildly lectured each applicant as
he or she came up. "This state of affairs is terrible, but it's your
own fault. White people were born to rule, and you to obey*
We liberated you and we can re-enslave you. Freedom and
Yankee advice have ruined a good many of you. What's your
name, old Aunty?" he asked an old woman who came limping
up. "Maria Tapp'n, marster," answered the old woman courte-
122 THE COLONEL'S REPENTANCE.
sing. "That's right, you haven't lost your manners," said the
Mayor with a smile, writing out for her an order for a double
portion. "Emulate these old mammies and uncles, who know
their places, and you will have no trouble. Next!" "Ef ther's
eny who needs er double po'tion hits ther widders an' orphans,"
said a policeman gently, pushing a little woman in black before
the Mayor's desk. "Whose widow are you?" asked the Mayor.
"Was your husband killed in the riots? — resisting arrest, I sup-
pose." "This is ther widder of Dan Wright," answered the po-
liceman; "an' ef Wilmin'ton had er had a hundred niggers like
tiiat, we uns would er had er diff'ant tale ter tell. He was ded
game." "Dan Wright," repeated the Mayor slowly. "He's ther
darkey that drawed er bead on an' defied we uns ter the las'."
said the policeman pushing the woman away, and pushing an-
other up to the desk. But the Mayor neither answered nor
looked tip. One by one they continued to come up to receive
their orders and pass out; but the executive looked them no
more in the face, nor essayed to speak. The crowd slowly dwin-
dled away until the last applicant had passed out. The Mayor
laid Lis pen upon the desk before him, leaned back in his chair,
raised his feet upon the desk, and fell into a reverie. The doings
of the past few days came back to his mind in all their shocking
significance. The curses, the groans, the agonizing cries of the
bereaved and the dying sounded a hundred-fold more volumi-
nous and heart-rending. Then the bloody form of Dan Wright
appeared with hands uplifted, eyes staring at his murderers, the
blood streaming from a hundred wounds.
The Mayor had seen hard service in war, was one of the im-
mortal few who, under the leadership of Pickett, made that gal-
lant but futile charge at Gettysburg, to be driven back for a
third time, crushed, mangled and defeated. He doubtless as-
sisted in digging the trenches into which those ghastly remnants
that told of the cannon's awful work were thrown. That was
war, and such sights had never so affected the veteran as the vis-
ion now before him.
"Avaunt! avaunt! Quit my sight!
Let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation
In those eyes that thou dost glare with!"
The Mayor started up, opened his eyes. Uncle Guy stood be-
fore him. "I jes' taut I'd drap in, Kumel, but didn't speck ter
THR COLONEL'S REPENTANCE. 12M
fin' yer sleep," said he, wincing under the Mayor's abstracted
gaze. "Oh, I don' want nut'n; don' make er scratch on dat
paper. I ain't beggin'," he exclaimed, as the Mayor, recovering,
reached for his pen. "That's so Guy; you needn't be a beggar as
long as the white people own a crust," he answered, settling back
in his. chair again. "Well, what are Xegroes saying about the
uprising, Guy?" The old man shrugged his shoulders, and shook
his index finger at the Mayor. "Le' me tell yo', Kurnel, you na
Wilmin'ton rich bocra, dun throw yo' number an' los'; hear me?
Ef embody gone tell me dat dese people I bin raise wid, who bin
called de bes' bocra in de worl" would go an' kick up all dis ere
devil, I'd er tole um No." The old man straightened up, pointed
skyward. "Lowd deliver yunna bocra when yer call befo' de bar.
Dese niggers ain't su'prise at po' white trash; dey do enyting.
But yunna fus class white fo'ks — '
"Well, Guy," broke in the Mayor, "it was hard for us to re-
sort to such, but it was in self-defense." "Self-defense! self-de-
fense!" repeated the old man. "When po' nigger han bin tie, an'
yunna bocra got eberyt'ing — gun, cannon an' all oe am-nition.
an' beside dat, de town full wid strange trash frum all ober de
country to crush dem? Some er dese men I sees shootin' an'
killin', dars men an' umen livin' er my race dat missed an' tuk
keer er dem w'en dey bin little. God er mighty gwinter pay
yunna well fer yer work, Kurnel, an' de gost er dem po' mur-
dered creeters gwine ter haunt yo' in yer sleep. God don' kib
ugly, an' yunna can't prosper." The old man concluded with a
low bow, strode out, and left the Mayor alone with his thoughts.
124 TECK PKRVIS, THE LEADER.
Teck Pervis, the I^eader. j
"Come, stan' back, men! I led you uns this fer, an' kin lq
you through. I'm goin' ter lead the way ter ther Mare's omfz
Poller me!" A crowd of disappointed poor whites, who hi,
assisted in restoring white supremacy and who had not be«;
^treated fairly in the distribution of the spoils, had gathered up'
■■ the City Hall steps in Wilmington to state their grievances ujn
I have them adjusted. Teck Pervis, the chairman of. White. §b
premacy League of Dry Pond and leader of the raiders on tl,
ioth of November, pushed his way through the crowd and face,
the Mayor, who, seeing them approaching, had sent forward ,i
platoon of police to intercept them, but without effect. "I say,
Mr. Mare," said the leader, fumbling with his hat, "we uns hei.rd
that you sont orders fer us ter turn in our guns." "I did give
such orders,'' returned the Mayor calmly. "Le' me tell yer, Mr.
Mare, you uns ain't filled yer contract wid we po' uns, an' ther
hain't er goin' ter be eny turnin' in guns tell yer do." "State
your grievance," commanded the Mayor, in a tone that betrayed
the ugliness of his temper. "You hain't carried out yer promus
by a jug full," said Teck. "We uns have ter have ther pintin' er
half er ther new officers in ther city. We uns war ter be giv'n
these big-bug niggers' houses, churches an' so on. Nigge: -
places in ther sto'es an' every whar was ter be giv' ter we uns.
Now, drot my hides, ef these things air takin' shape zactly t
suit we uns. Now, we want satisfaction." "Well," said the Ma)
or, "we thank you gentlemen for your zeal in helping us to ri
Wilmington of radical rule, but we are sorry that you misunde
stood us in regard to spoils and so forth. We can't take fro -
the Negro his property and give it to you, but in cases where '
has been timid enough to give it up (and we have had instanc
of the kind) we have sustained the white man. As many c ,f t
merchants as could consistently do so have discharged their \,
TECK PEkVIS, THE LEADER. 125
lp and put on whites. But complaints are coming in to me
at you can't do their work; that it often takes two white men
i perform one Negro's task. Good and reliable colored help are
aving the city in alarming numbers, and we must call a halt,
r. Skidmore tells me that he tried a few whites at his mill a few
lys ago and the result was most unsatisfactory. They couldn't
tunt and pile the lumber' and run the saws, and the scheme is a
;ad loss. What are we to do? We have given you the street
ork, and the police force is full. You men are not sufficiently
iucated to fill clerical positions, and even if you were, we must
serve them for the first families," concluded the Mayor, with a
nighty lift of his head. "Now, Mr. Mare, yo' speech is all right
ough, but it don't suit we uns ernough ter give up ther guns.
»Ve wenf back on our colored frends ter giv' yo' 'ristocrats ther
7(5v'ment, and we uns'll combine wi' ther colored men an' take
it from yer, see?"
Teck Pervis turned and faced the men who stood like a wall at
his back. "Gentermen, go home an' keep yer guns an' yer pow-
der dry, for vo'll need 'em! Good day, Mr. Mare!" He followed
.md addressed his men from the steps of the City Hall.
"Gentermen, we pu' .down nigger rule on the tenth, the nex'
move mus' be ter let ther 'ristocrats know thet the one gullus
boyS air indowed by God wi' ther same rites as they air. We po'
iiiis'll have er show, er break up the whole thing. Go home, boys,
and be ready to rally when ther order's giv'!"
REV. JONAS MELVIN, RESIGNS.
Rev. Jonas Melvin, Resigns.
"I've bin er readin' ther Scripter an' rastlin' w? tlier Lord in
prayer fer lo these meny ye'rs, an' hain't never seed er time when
I tho't thet er preacher of ther word was jestified in j'inin' in with
sinners in devilment. Thar's no use in talkin'. Brother Melvin
mus' wine up his kareer in Free Will Church." Mrs. Aamanda
Pervis was addressing the alcove to Deacon Littleton, as arm in
arm they proceeded toward the church a few evenings after
Thanksgiving Day. Ever since the massacre she had been
busily trying to awaken sentiment in the church against the pas-
tor", who on that fatal day had stood with Dr. Jose upon the fir-
ing line to shoot down his fellow citizens of color. The deacons
had waited upon Jonas Melvin and informed him of what was be-
ing done, and had advised him to tender his resignation and get
out; but he preferred coming before the church and "quitting
honorably," as he termed it. Mrs. Pervis had worked so earnest-
ly that the church was crowded to the doors on that evening. It
was Deacon Littleton who called the meeting to order and stated
its purpose. "Brethren an' sisters," he began, "the loth of No-
vember was to' the people of this community a tryin time. It
was a war which many of us felt justifiable in enterin', but there
was no justification in it; it was the work of the devil. If we
had got on our knees an' kept our eyes fixed upon the things of
God, such a deed as has disgraced this community would not
have happened. I wonder what the Negro thinks of us now?
Does he think we air the banner carriers of Christian civiliza-
tion? Orphans are cryin", widows are moanin', a paradise has
been turned into hell by a people calling themselves a superior
people. Christians and sinners have gone hand and hand into
this evil. We don't know whether any other church has felt
in duty boun' to sift its membership, an' reprimanded the guilts.
but Free Will Baptist Church feels it her indispensable duty n>
do so, an' we are sorrv to say that the first case we are pained to
REV. JONAS MELVIN, RESIGNS. 1:7
try -is that of our pastor, Rev. Jonas Melvin, who, on the loth of
Xovembcr, 1898, stood with gun in hand, assisting the devil in his
work." Turning to the minister, who sat all the while with
head bowed, the deacon concluded: "Brother Jonas Melvin.
have you anything to say to this charge, why it should not be
sustained, and you be disrnissed from this church?"
Rev. Jonas Melvin arose. "Brethren,"' he began, "this work
began in the church; church people laid the plans and led in the
execution of those plans. Those men who waited upon the Gov-
ernor to persuade him to keep the troops away that the mob
might execute its work unmolested, were leading church men
and ministers of the gospel." "They were no Christians!" cried
a feminine voice. "I thought I was doing my duty as a Christian
in assisting in restoring good government to the people of this
town, and if I have done wrong, the Lord is my judge." Mr.
Melvin sat down. "The state of things as they existed in Wil-
mington did not justify the taking of a single life," said a brother.
rising, "and many a man has been made to stumble by the deeds
cf professing Christians in this riot; and while I'm on my feet.
1 move that the resignation of Rev. Jonas Melvin from the pas-
torate of this church be demanded." "Secon" ther motion!" ex-
claimed Mrs. Pervis. jumping to her feet. "An' I wish ter sa;»
jes' here that Teck Perns, who perfessed religion las" year, has
jes' gone back to ther deval bekase, ses he. the preacher? war in
this thing. Preachers whose ban's air full er blood air not fit
ter handle ther word er God."
The motion was carried with but few opposer> Mr.-. Pcr\ -;.-
fell light enough to fly away that night as she walked home-
ward,* for she had carried the church with her for God and the
right. She hugged the arm of Deacon Littleton with painful
tenacity as they both strode homeward together. '"Think of
;hem po* creeters drove frum ther homes ter suffer an' die by
men claimin' ter hev religion. Jonas Melvin mus' go back ter
Georgy whar the people air in leeg wid ther deval:"
liS BILL SIKES.
Bill Sikes was a man who always looked ahead and wisely pre-
pared for declining years. Bill was a carpenter by trade, and by
thrift and industry saved money, bought land and built houses
upon it, so that he might leave comfortable homes for his many
' children. When the calamity came which incapacitated him for
further usefulness he had come into possession of a whole block
in the portion of the city known as "New'Town." His prosperity
did not, however, lessen his activity; he forgot that he was get-
ting old, for his limbs were yet supple and his eyes perfectly clear.
He measured off his lumber and drove nails with the strength and
accuracy of a young man; yet, as death lurks in every passing
breeze, feeling well is no evidence of sound health or assurance of
long life. Bill Sikes seldom complained. Steady habits had
made him vigorous and confident ; but one morning his fond wife
stood in the door and watched him as with head erect and firm
step he strode away to his wotk, only to be borne back to her at
noon a helpless paralytic. "What's the matter, William?" she
asked tenderly, as loving hands lay him upon the lounge before
her. But the tongue which had bid her good-bye so fondly that
morning could not utter a word, and the eyes that had gazed so
sweetly into hers bespoke the bitter anguish of his soul as they
stared vacantly at her. "He's done fer," said one of the men.
rubbing his eye with the back of his hand. "The doctors seen
him and says he ain't fer long." "Speak to me, William," cried
Mrs. Sikes, bending low and pressing her cheeks against her hus-
band's. He raised his arm to caress her, but it fell again to hi-
But Bill S'kes did not die; he rallied: the lost strength grad-
ually came back to his palsied limbs sufficiently to enable him to
hobble around, and his tongue became light enough to utter
words that could be understood with difficulty. Full and complex
BILL SIKES. 129
recovery was impossible, however; he was a child, helplessly
clinging to his wife, whose burden was increased tenfold with
the larger children all away and management of everything — the
looking after their little store and other property upon her shoul-
ders; she felt that God had tried her as no other soul had been
tried. The property of Bill Sikes had for a long time been cov-
eted by his white neighbors, but even extortionate offers had been
refused. But the ioth of November offered a favorable oppor-
tunity for the covetous to bulldoze black men who owned valua-
ble real estate into selling it at any price, and Mrs. Sikes was one
of that number whose experience had turned their love for the
dear old home into hate. She had witnessed the killing of a poor
wretch right in front of her door, within a stone's throw of his
home; had heard the agonizing wails of his wife and children — a
sight which she had never expected to witness in Wilmington.
The roar of cannon and musketry, the yells of frightened women
and children kept her poor, helpless husband in constant terror,
hanging on to her skirts like a babe. And now, although weeks
had passed since that fatal day, the native white, emboldened by
re-enforcement and the demoralization of colored men, kept up
the reign of terror. Colored women of respectability who had
not fled the city were compelled to remain prisoners in their
homes to escape ignominious treatment upon the highways.
It was a few mornings after Thanksgiving Day when Mrs.
West left her cottage on Campbell street and ventured over to pay
a visit to Mrs. Sikes. "Well, Henrietta, how have you managed
to live through it all?" she asked, throwing her arms about the
waist of Mrs. Sikes, who saw her approaching, and had gone out
upon the porch to greet her. "And poor William! I've thought
of you oh! so many times, Henrietta, knowing of just how much
you were in need of his protection during these days of trial."
"Yes," answered Mrs. Sikes, leading the visitor in and bolting the
door. "The burden upon his poor wife's shoulders is indeed
heavy; but, then, our men are unable to protect us, anyway, so
great are the odds against them." "Oh, Wilmington! Wilming-
ton! who would have thought that thou wouldst be the theatre for
the tragedy enacted within thy borders!" interrupted Mrs. West.
"Some of us, at least, are too well bred, have too much self-respect
and pride to stand and endure this state of things that exists now
in our home. We could go to church and" worship unmolested
h. the days of slavery; now we have not been permitted for weeks
to hold public worship. They are determined f'o place and keep
130 BILL SIKES.
North Carolina on a level with States further South. Would you
believe it? one of our white ladies sent her servant down to the
bandit Mayor to be whipped the other day." "Yes," said Mrs.
Sikes, "another went down to have a Negro woman driven out
of her own house because she lived in a white neighborhood ami
the children had had a little trouble among themselves. And the
poor black woman, to remain in her house, was compelled to get
down on her knees and beg the white one's pardon." "Well,"
said Mrs. West, "we held a meeting the other night, and I toll
the few who had the courage to venture out that I was going.
Give me liberty or give me death! I would rather be a beggar in
a land of liberty than a Croesus where my wealth will not pur-
chase toleration. The colored citizens who own property are At
very ones who have been forced to leave the city." "I have also
made up my mind to do the same," answered Mrs. Sikes. "Wil-
liam is so disgusted that he wants to go even if he has to sell our
property for half its value. Then he thinks that in New York be
can go under treatment in one of the many great hospitals there.
He has improved so much that he believes final recover)' possible.
To tell you the truth, I did not believe that I could become so
disgusted with my own home, in which I was born and loved so
well." "It may all be for the best," said Mrs. West. "Some one
hath sinned — there is an Achan in the camp, and when the sin is
punished innocent and guilty suffer alike. In our prosperity we
have strayed away from Him who hath redeemed us, and these
broken down aristocrats and poor white indentured slaves are the
Philistines sent to scourge* us. And, then, we have been slaves to
the idea that there is no place on earth for) us to live but here in
our home. The eagle hath stirred up her nest that her young
.may scatter abroad. Old as I am, I will leave Wilmington, trust-
ing in God and feeling that the world is mine, and if I can't live
in peace in one place I can go to another. But the most impor-
tant thing is, Molly has consented to go." "Brave girl!" said
Mrs. Sikes. "I heard of her wonderful deeds during the massa-
cre; I didn't believe it was in her. In her new surroundings, away
from old associate, she will keep straight. I have made up my
mind to go finally to Cleveland, Ohio, my old home. Colored
women are not so much annoyed by white men in the North and
West as in the South, and Molly may there be enabled to quit her
old habits. We will see each other before we start away, as I
shall take a steamer, for we may stay a while in New York," con-
cluded Mrs. West, rising to go. "It matters not where on earth
BILL SIKES. 131
we may roam, there are twelve gates to the City up there. There
is no more parting, no more persecution, no more separation, no
tears. So long, till I see you again."
The usurping Mayor of Wilmington had just disposed of the
last case upon docket, dismissed the court and had settled back-
in his chair to enjoy the morning paper, when Bill Sikes entered,
and, with his hat in his hand, humbly approached the railing be-
hind which the Mayor sat. He rested his palsied hand upon the
rail and saluted. The Mayor arose, came forward and extended
his hand. "Well, Bill, how are you?" "Mornin', Colonel," an-
swered he. "I come down to tell yer I'm goin'." "Going?
Where?" "I think 111 try the North, Colonel." The Mayors
face relaxed. "Why, Bill, you are all right; no one's troubled
you. If all the Negroes were like you we would have had no
trouble." "Yes, I know I'm all right," answered Bill, "but I
can't stan' seein' men who was playmates of mine shot down on
the streets like dogs by their ol* 'sociates an' neighbors. You
know, Colonel, I'm one who b'lieved in the white people of this
town, an' was ready at any time to stake ma life on that belief;
but what has took place in Wilmington an' what is still goin' on
has converted me." "Now, Bill," said the Mayor, somewhat
moved, "the white people of Wilmington had to resort to this to
restore the government to those to whom it rightfully belonged.
White people must rule, Bill."- "I ain't got no objection to your
rulin', but drivin' out black citizens who have stood by yer an'
been always faithful to yer is er grave mistake. The deal yer
made with these po-bocra is goin' ter give yer trouble, Colonel,
mark ma words. You ain't got no more use fer po' whites than I
have, an' I know it." "But they were the means to the end,
Bill," answered the Mayor, with a smile. "A kingdom divided
agin itself is er goin' ter fall, Colonel." "Don't be a fool and leave
your home because of unpleasantness; remember you are getting
old; the North is no place for you; you are comfortably fixed
here." Yes, Colonel, I know that, but I'm not goin' ter stay in er
place where a d — n scoundrel can insult ma wife an' I can't per-
fect her, an' you know there's been a time when I could. Good-
bye, Colonel." "Good-bye, Bill; you'll regret it I'm afraid."
Bill Sikes went back home to prepare for his journey north-
132 A SHIP SAILS.
A Ship Sails.
When on the evening of December i, 1898, the old Clyde
steamer drifted out from her docks into mid stream in the harbor
of Wilmington, among the host of passengers that stood upon
her deck, with tear-dimmed eyes, to bid adieu to the dear old
town was Molly Pierrepont. Leaning upon the shoulder of her
foster mother, whose heart was too full to speak, she frantically
waved her handkerchief and cried "Farewell, old home!" Dear
as thou hast been to me, I must leave thee for ever; for thou art
in the possession of the wicked. The spoiler is in thy borders.
The blood of innocents has flowed freely in thy highways, and
the murderer and the assassin stalk abroad in thy streets. But
it matters not where I go, thy days of equity, when every citi-
zen, it mattered not how humble, was free, shall ever live with
me. Days of childhood innocence, the shouts of the children, the
clang of the school bell, the rippling of the*rills, the hum of bees
will be the means of helping me to forget thy latter days of tur-
moil and strife. Good-bye, old home! Good-bye!"
BILL SIKES IN NEW YORK. 133
Bill Sikes in New York.
It was near the Christmas holidays, a genuine Northern winter
day, cold and piercing, going to the marrow in spite of heavy
clothing. Francis Lewis, contractor and builder, sat in his com-
fortable office in West Forty-seventh street, Xew York city, when
the door was pushed open and a light-skinned colored man en-
tered. His face was thin and pinched, his hair and beard slightly
mixed with gray, and he dragged one foot as he walked.
"Well, what can I do for you, my good man?*' said Mr. Lewis,
rising. "Take a seat; you don't look as though you are very
well," pointing to a chair near by. "I'm jes' lookin' aroun'," an-
swered the man, lowering himself into the chair with difficulty.
"I'm er carp'nter maself." "Yes? Where are you from?" asked
Mr. Lewis. "From the South — Wilmington," was the reply.
■"Oh, that's the scene of recent riots. What's the matter with
those people down there — crazy?" "No, but that was the only-
way they could git er hoi' er the gov-nment," answered the col-
ored man. "The colored people bein' in the majority of course
had controlin' power, but they were always willin' fer the whites
ter rule, an' they did rule. But there wasn't offices ernough to
go 'round to all the bankrup' whites who wanted political jobs,
and give the Negro er repersentation too, so they concluded ter
wipe the Negro off the earth." "Shame! shame!"' exclaimed Mr.
Lewis. "Then the colored people were gittin' er Ion too well;
they had considerable property, and was well up in the trades an'
professions. I owned er whole block maself, an' was perpared to
spen' ther balance of ma days at ease, but had ter sell ma house
an' git out." "You say you are a carpenter — house builder?"
"Yes. sir." "You mean to say that you took contracts, planned
and built houses?" "Oh, yes," replied the colored man. *T
never saw a colored architect. Say, George!" to a man who
had Just entered, "here's a colored architect and house-builder
from the South." "Architect and builder?" queried the other,
■ . ■
134 BILL SIKES IN NEW YORK.
drawing nigh. "Well, Mr. — what is your name?" "William-
William Sikes." "Mr. Sikes, are you looking for work at your
trade in the North? The Trades Union and so forth make it pre-
ty hard for a colored man to get in here; and then you can't
work, you are lame." "I am a little lame," replied Bill, looking
down at his palsied arm. "I had a paralytic stroke some time er
go. I am goin' in for treatment, an' if I git well, I won't ask
Trade Union an' labor unions no boot. Where there's er will
there's er way." "But I am afraid you will never recover suffi-
cient strength to work again at your trade, my man," answered
Mr. Lewis, tenderly; but you can try." "Good day," said Bill,
rising to go. "Good day," said Mr. Lewis.
But Mrs. Sikes, still vigorous and strong, found in New York
abundant opportunities for women to be useful. There was day's
work, general house work, chamber work and cooking situations
to be had without very much effort on the part of the seeker.
Mrs. Sikes, whose work had chiefly been dressmaking and plain
sewing, found the new field of labor quite irksome. The money
realized from the sale of her property she must not let dwindle
away too swiftly; her husband was helpless, and she must work,
and the children must work. She found the North a place where
a day's work meant a day's work in full; there was no let up; the
pound of flesh was exacted. So she often tugged home to her
apartments very tired and discouraged.
They had been in New York quite a year, and Mrs. Sikes had
quite gotten used to Northern ways (everything seeming easier
accomplished), when one evening at the dinner table she noticed
that her husband watched her more than usual. "What's the
matter, William?" she asked, tenderly. "I'm awful discouraged,"
he said. "I — I don't get any better, an' hate ter see you an' chil-
dren struggHn' so hard an' I can't help." Now, don't worry
about that, William; it will do no good." "I was thinkin'," he
went on, "that we might try it again in Wil — " "Now, don't
mention Wilmington to me again, William!" broke in Mrs Sikes,
sharply. "If you wish to go back to that hell, I'll put you on the
train and you can go; but I, never! Life is not so easy here, but
I can walk the streets as a lady, and my children are free to play
and romp without fear of being killed for accidentally or pur-
posely treading upon the toe of a white child. I have been free
too long to endure slavery for one moment. Wilmington is not
what it used to be, and I fear it never will be. I have just re-
ceived a letter from Mrs. Cole saying that the situation has not
BILL SIKES IN NEW YORK. 135
changed. On Castle street about a month ago a black child';
body was found full of bruises. It is supposed he was killed by
v/hite boys in sport. A young man was called to, his door a few-
nights ago and shot down because he had driven his horse over
a gentleman's (?) dog. She says to appeal to the law is useless.
She says further that the poor whites are preparing for another
raid. Now, I would rather live here free in poverty than to live
there a slave in comfort. The children are all away, the prop-
erty is sold, and there is nothing to be gained by going." Bill
said no more to his wife upon the subject; he knew her too well to
misunderstand her words.
136 MOLLY'S FINAL STEP.
Molly's Final Step.
It was Sunday evening in New York. Bethel Church was
crowded to the doors. The sermon had been concluded, and the
choir and congregation had solemnly chanted the Lord's Prayer
"As I looked over this audience to-night," said Dr. Henderson
descending from the pulpit, I think of the words of the blessed
Saviour, 'The fields are white and ready to harvest,' so I'm goino-
to open the doors of the church. Who here is ready to make a
start for heaven to-night? Come, sinner! God's not calling the
righteous, but you. There is a prodigal child here to-nightVho
has wandered from home. Come home; there is bread and to
spare, and a warm welcome there. Here comes one, thank God!"
A young man went forward and took the minister's hand, follow-
ed by two others. "Who else will come? There is some one that
is almost persuaded. Remember that to be almost persuaded is
to be lost. Come, sinner.
" 'Will you scorn the message
Sent in mercy from above? ,
Every sentence, oh how tender!
Every line is full of love.'
"Listen to it: 'Every line is full of love.' God requires no prep-
aration; come just as you are. Just surrender yourself, yourself
to — " "I surrender, Lord." This exclamation startled the audi-
ence, and all eyes were turned upon a tall and stately woman,
who suddenly arose in the centre of the church and started for-
ward. This was Molly Pierrepont, making the final step. "Poor
Magdalene," she whispered as she took Dr. Henderson's hand.
"But God is gracious, my child," returned the minister.
A month went by. It was Sunday evening, and again Bethel
was filled to overflowing; but, large as that audience was, a serene
stillness prevailed, for out from the choir loft a rich soprano voice,
pathetic and appealing in its tone, fell serenely upon listening ears.
"Just as I am thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe
Oh Lamb of God, I come.
"Just as I am, thy love unknown,
Hath broken every barrier down,
v Now to be Thine, yea Thine alone,
Oh Lamb of God, I come."
Molly has done her part nobly and well, so I close the story